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The EU struck a big deal on Covid-19. But it might have dealt a blow to democracy

July 22, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The European Union's agreemend on a Covid-19 rescue fund is a massive achievement. But experts say the compromises could create massive headaches later when it comes to "democratic backsliders" like Hungary and Poland.

(CNN)Brussels began the week in celebratory mood, as member states of the European Union finally agreed how they would distribute around $2 trillion of funds across the bloc over the next seven years.

Despite the controversy, it was clear to most member states that some kind of EU-level Covid response was inevitable.

The much-discussed Article 7 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty -- which provides a mechanism for sanctioning member states by revoking their voting rights -- has always been flawed.

"The EU has always been reluctant to act when there is a democratic backslide," says Daniel Kelemen, Jean Monnet Chair in European Union Politics at Rutgers University.

If member states ignore ECJ rulings, threaten judges who implement EU law, it doesn't just threaten democracy; it threatens undermining the whole union," says Keleman.

Kelemen goes further: "If judges are in the pocket of the government, how can another EU state extradite a criminal to a fellow member state?

While Hungary and Poland might provide much of the focus of concern, they are far from the only EU member states that have flouted some of the EU's core pinciples.

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