Steven Barrett, Commercial Chancery Barrister at Radcliffe Chambers, has identified four areas of concern for the bloc when it comes to upholding the rule of law. The rule of law is enshrined in Article two of the Treaty on European Union as a prerequisite for all member states in order to protect the fundamentals of the bloc.
But in a series of posts on Twitter, Mr Barrett suggested the cornerstone of the EU is under threat.
He wrote: “The EU Rule of Law Crisis now has four parts: The Polish problem (national courts ignore ECJ).
“The German problem (national courts ignore ECJ).
“The French (government usurps EU role in EU/UK Treaty).
“ECJ problem (the court is not independent and not a court). All four = the Crisis.”
The people of Poland and its Government currently do not have any appetite for leaving the EU27 as the country is reliant on EU funds from the bloc’s coronavirus rescue package.
Poland would also not be able to diverge completely away from EU rules as member states signed up to the Lisbon treaty which gave new law-making powers to the European Parliament.
Last year, Germany also took the unprecedented step to challenge EU authority after its constitutional court ruled the European Central Bank had overstepped its mandate with bond purchases.
The financial scheme had already been approved by the European Court of Justice – and in June 2021 the European Commission started legal action and said the German Court had set a “serious precedent”.
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Meanwhile, France has also shown disregard for EU rules when it come to the post-Brexit fishing row with the UK.
The UK and France remain at loggerheads over licences for EU vessels to fish in British waters.
Paris officials threatened to block UK ports and impose sanctions on exports, even though France would need the backing of the other 26 EU member states to do so.
In another post, Mr Barrett tweeted: “The Rule of Law Crisis is an existential threat to the EU.
“People obsessed with the politics (and hating the UK) are missing this. If France can act alone now, any of the other 26 can and in any treaty.
“Without the Rule of Law the EU does not exist. France = as bad as Poland.”
The UK and the EU signed a Trade and Co-Operation Agreement in December 2020 and the legal text also states parts of the agreement can be torn-up.
The prospect of a suspension of the deal has been touted over the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol, a mechanism created to prevent a hard border.
The two sides remain at loggerheads as the EU insist on the oversight of the European Court of Justice in any disputes relating to goods in Northern Ireland.
In the trade deal, it says: ‘In the event of serious and systemic deficiencies within one Party as regards the protection of fundamental rights or the principle of the rule of law, the other Party may suspend this Part or Titles thereof, by written notification through diplomatic channels.
“Such notification shall specify the serious and systemic deficiencies on which the suspension is based.”