News from the Capitals #23
Europe is a colourful continent in terms of policies and outcomes. It is essential to stay updated on how these policies may impact your work to build better regulatory frameworks, enhance your message and enhance communication with stakeholders. Here you can find a summary of the major European political updates of this week.
On Wednesday, the long-awaited ruling of the European Court of Justice opened up the way for the Commission to block the Recovery and Facility funds over rule of law concerns. The legal challenge put forward by Poland and Hungary plays into the long dispute over democratic backsliding in those countries. It is now up to the European Commission to trigger the rule of law conditionality mechanism which came into effect in early 2021.
At the national level, the ECJ judgement fed into the ongoing conflict within the government’s two fractions – with Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro on one side and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on the other. Ziobro attacks the Prime Minister for not having blocked the conditionality mechanism in 2020. Morawiecki, who previously claimed success for securing large EU funds, argues that the budget mechanism only applies to the misuse of EU money and won’t affect Poland.
Greenpeace head Jennifer Morgan was appointed Germany's first climate envoy by Annalena Baerbock (Greens). It's thought that Morgan could play a leading role in Germany's efforts to curb global warming on the international stage — particularly as the country takes presidency of the G7 group of leading world economies.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has reiterated his willingness to find a peaceful solution to the tensions with Russia. On Tuesday, Putin insisted on written guarantees from the West that Ukraine would not become a NATO member for the foreseeable future.
MEP Nicolas Bay (Rassemblement National) joined Eric Zemmour’s (far right) campaign by becoming Vice-President of the “Reconquête” party launched in early December to support his candidacy. This is another defection from the Rassemblement National party that weakens Marine Le Pen ahead of the election. Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains, conservative) held a national meeting on Sunday. It was not well received, with several commentators denouncing the lack of oral preparation. Pécresse responded that “there are a lot of speakers in this campaign” and that she prefers to “act”.