The Hand on the Faucet

von Maximilian Steinbeis

Dear Friends of Verfassungsblog,

Cutting off the bad guys from their money supplies is a well-established policing strategy, but is it also the right way to sanction attacks on the rule of law and democracy? We have seen this question arise twice this week: First, the German neonazi party NPD, after being found anti- but not unconstitutional by the Federal Constitutional Court (don’t ask), is about to be stripped of its claim to state funding my means of a constitutional amendment, on which project the Home Affairs Committee of the Bundestag has heard half a dozen of experts last Monday and received some well-founded criticism. Second, the constitutional capture in Poland and Hungary seems to meet with some resistance on the EU member state level at last, with the German government’s proposal to make the disbursal of EU structural funds in one way or another dependent of the recipient’s compliance with the rule of law.

At first sight, this looks like good news: that the EU must finally take action to remind the Hungarian and Polish governments of their obligations under Article 2 of the EU Treaty has been a recurring demand on Verfassungsblog for months and years now (e.g. here, here, here and here). The national governments, above all the German, had hitherto shown little inclination to pick a fight with their illiberally-minded peers in the East. This seems now to have changed now under the impression of the painful rebuff Germany and Austria met with their plea for a modest degree of European burden-sharing in terms of asylum and refugee protection ...

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