Yesterday the European Commission announced that it was going to to start a “structured dialogue” with the Government of Poland under “the Rule of Law Framework”.
However, for an institution that pretends to hold others to the rule of law principle it might be becoming to first make sure that its own actions are complying with that principle.
In that context it is noteworthy that what the Commission calls “the Rule of Law Framework” is in fact nothing else but a procedure that the Commission has ad hoc created in 2014 through a Communication that, as such, has no legal value at all. The Commission may consider itself bound by that Communication, but Member States clearly are not bound by it. In other words, “the Rule of Law Framework” is in reality a legal nothingness, and what the Commission is currently doing is rather similar to brandishing a toy gun. Will anybody be impressed?
Just 8 weeks after the Commission had proudly presented “the Rule of Law Framework”, the Legal Service of the Council issued a legal analysis in which it concluded that “the new EU Framework for the Rule of Law as set out in the Commission’s communication is not compatible with the principle of conferral which governs the competences of the institutions of the Union.“
In other words, the Commission’s actions against Poland appear themselves to be lacking a legal base…
The gap between pretension and reality is tragi-comic.