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Today, the European Commission will publish its annual Rule of Law Report. The new report could now intensify the conflict between the EU and the two Central European member states. Given the continued undermining of democratic principles in Poland and Hungary, one would expect not only a retrospective analysis, but also concrete recommendations for action against violations of the rule of law. However, this does not seem to be the case.

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The Polish Constitutional Tribunal has postponed at short notice the hearing scheduled for today on whether the Disciplinary Chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court can continue to operate despite an interim order from the ECJ. The hearing was originally scheduled for April, but was postponed several times due to the initiative of the Polish Ombudsman’s Office.

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Hungary is the black sheep of the European Union. Its contrarian agenda offends the common opinion of other member states. Just recently, the Hungarian government not only threatened to veto the EU recovery budget but also voiced its opposition to the Gender Action Plan, a foreign policy initiative to buttress the rights of women, girls and LGBTQI worldwide. But don’t be fooled: behind this maverick political performance of the Orban government lies a shrewd and…