The messages are seen as an informal first step towards activating a new mechanism. The so-called conditionality mechanism should make it possible to suspend European support for member states that violate rule of law principles and thus threaten to harm European financial interests. The nationalist governments of Poland and Hungary are challenging the legality of the mechanism and have already taken the matter to the Court of Justice. A verdict is expected at the end of this year or early next year.
The commission has long indicated that it will wait for a court ruling before taking action, but it is already preparing the files. So messages are part of this setup. However, this is not enough for the European Parliament, which in turn referred the Commission to the Court to further delay the implementation of the new instrument.
Meanwhile, the Commission is still waiting for approval of economic recovery plans for Poland and Hungary. As a result, both countries will not have access to the funds reserved for them in the €750 billion European Recovery Fund for the time being. European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders is currently visiting Poland.