In Loss of sight, a well-known book by Portuguese author
José Saramago, a man waiting in his car at a traffic control suddenly ends up being blind. Later on, inexplicably, the exact same happens to other locals in the city. Quickly public life gets totally interfered with. Order, health care, food supply – whatever sinks into chaos and lawlessness.
- At the EU top, Portuguese prime minister António Costa offered Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel a present: Loss of sight by José Saramago. With a message
Nobody in the city, Saramago composed in this dark tale about the degeneration of civilisation, “understood from now on when the light reddened”.
On 17 July, the first day of the marathon European Council on the multi-annual European budget strategy and the corona healing fund, Portuguese prime minister António Costa provided this Saramago book as a birthday present to German chancellor Angela Merkel.This was an incredibly symbolic present.No one can lecture the Portuguese on the guideline of law. Their country was a military dictatorship from 1926 to 1974. Just after the ‘Carnation
‘ improvement in April 1974 was it allowed to wind up belonging to the European Union: only democracies might register with.
If there is one prime minister in Europe today who perceives the continuous disintegration of the rule of law in Hungary, Poland and some other EU nations like an individual slap in the face, it’s probably Portuguese prime minister Costa.
Hungary and Poland remain in the ‘club’. They are safe. Nobody can kick them out. Their leaders make this very clear – assertively, cynically, turning every word inside out up till it loses all significance.
For Costa, the child of a reporter and an author who was locked up 3 times for opposing the Salazar government in the 1950s, this should be a bitter experience.Yet it was Costa who traveled through Europe and worked the phones recently, informing other European presidents and federal government how dumb it is to link European aids from the EU budget plan and the recovery fund to the rule of law in recipient countries. Northern European nations kept requiring’ no
democracy, no cash ‘. In the beginning, this looked right. How can any person who values European worths ever protest this? Nevertheless, because of that link, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán immediately threatened to obstruct the whole budget strategy and the fund, worth about EUR1.8 trillion for the next seven years.Costa was finest: the link is stupid. And if anybody might say this, it was him. It’s regrettable that he just brought it up when Orbán started threatening to use his veto. Now it resembles Costa just challenged the link since he hesitated he would not get his money from Brussels.But Costa’s central argument is vital. He says we can not and should not utilize European worths, democracy and the rule of law as a bargaining chip in settlements about cash. Negotiations are about give and take. If you use European values in this sort of horse-trading, you make them flexible-which they need to not be, ever.” If we work out about worths and
money, “Costa made up in the Portuguese newspaper Público last week,” we do not safeguard those values however monetise them rather. They wind up being extra modification.” This is why the European Council, in the end, kicked the can down the road. The European Commission will table a proposal later on this year.Many were disappointed. However in matters over which European leaders take consentaneous choices– significance, each nation has a veto-such as the EU budget, the repercussion is that you put whatever into the hands of those breaking European worths. Strong conditionality would empower Orbán to shoot down Europe’s entire multi-annual budget plan, without any improvement whatsoever in the standard of law in Hungary. This would be a win-win for Budapest.All Costa did was trying to describe that the linkage is inefficient
— not due to the fact that the standard of law isn’t worth protecting nevertheless given that the linkage rewards the perpetrators and paralyses the performance of the EU.” By doing this we would, out of naiveté or cynicism, repeat the procedure in which Orbán
prohibited Frans Timmermans as president of the Commission in 2015,” Costa argued.So, exists definitely nothing we can do?Yes, there is.First, this functions yet another argument for the abolition of nationwide vetos. It makes no sense that across the country leaders require keeping the veto and criticise the EU for being too weak to support the rule of law. The 2 problems are directly related. It is time they acknowledge this.Second, up until EU decision-making relocate to( qualified) majority voting, the EU needs to depend upon the one existing treatment dealing straight with the standard of law: Short article 7 of the Treaty. If countries keep overlooking cautions from Brussels, cases based upon Short article 7 will eventually go to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.Those treatments are, alas, irritatingly tiresome and slow. Nevertheless for now this minimal tool is all we have, so we need to make much better use of it. As we have seen over the last few years political pressure from Brussels does not work: countries refuse to be lectured. Just the court can require them to stop breaking the guideline of law. Hungary has actually frequently taken a step back prior to cases refer to court. Poland has really been founded guilty two times.Twice, to prevent sanctions, it has overturned laws clipping the wings of independent judges.Is this too bleak a possibility? Not always. In Blindness, Saramago’s special, there is one girl who keeps her vision. She, probably, made Costa consider Merkel and her function in Europe. It is thanks to this woman that all the blind, at the end of the book, see the light as soon as again and start stopping for traffic signals– comparable to they used to. Source