Through the past years, we saw a growing contrast on the feeling towards the institution of the European Union between two distinct regions of Europe: East and West. In order to explore that, this article studies the application and compliance to the European Union law by countries from both regions; France and Hungary, in order to explore the relevance of the successfulness of this institution in both regions.
In the 21st century, globalization has consequently impacted our world. As the act of extending to other parts of the world, it has made our world growingly interconnected between these parts, more specifically between different regions. This has led to the creation of numerous inter-governmental organizations, aiming to facilitate the different cooperations between countries. Some examples might be the United Nations regrouping more than 190 state members who work together to improve our world. Another popular inter-governmental organization is the European Union. According to the Oxford dictionary, the EU is ‘an economic and political organization that many European countries belong to’. In 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community sets the base of the European Union which is enhancing economic cooperation in between West European states. Later these countries encouraged the share of common political values due to a common history, encouraging the reconciliation within the torn post World War II Europe. Nowadays, the European Union regroups 27 European state members from all across the continent under the moto: ‘United in diversity’. However throughout the years we discovered disparities existing within this knowingly successful institution between the West and the East of Europe. Therefore different measures taken by the European Union may result to different outcomes in different countries, with not always the best impact on some. In this research paper we are aiming to discover ‘How successful is the EU law implementation in Eastern European countries compared to Western European countries?’. We hypothesise that the European Union law execution is more effective in Western Europe then in Eastern Europe due to different historical past, diverging cultures and the growing of nationalist values in numerous eastern european countries. Studying this issue is relevant to understand to what extent are the EU law successful across Europe and from a broader scope it assesses the successfulness of the EU institution in Eastern Europe. This is pertinent to later examine how to make the institution more successful across Europe.
Research & Analysis
- Defining terms
To start off we are going to search for a more profound understanding of how relevant the level of dissatisfaction towards the European Union between CEE (Central/Eastern European) countries and more Western countries is.
In order to do that, we are going to define these two categories of countries based on the two existing blocks during the Cold War, the East and the West bloc. This is relevant as the Iron curtain separating the European continent from 1946 until 1989, has played a major role in the development of two very different European cultures. One being majorly influenced by the USSR and therefore communist values while the other one opening itself to a more capitalist and individualism-based society. Even after the fall of the USSR in 1989, the cultural influence played by communist authorities in the eastern bloc still had a major influence, these countries having been completely cut out of any economic and cultural development. Some examples might be the economic situation between the GDR (German Democratic Republic) and the FDR (Federal German Republic) that are still visible today. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of GDR was 43% of the FDRs in 1990, while it still only represents 75% today (LeMonde: Pierre Breteau (06/11/2019) - Thirty years after German reunification, nine maps show the persistent gap between East and West) . Another cultural example is the testimony of several insults lavished by Hungarian people towards French tourist, which have been recorded in the early 2000. As the hungarian population still feels violated after the Verdun treaty dividing its territory by 3 and has not had time to process it since communism occupied Hungary for a consequent lapse of time and repressed the creation of any sense of nationalism. Therefore, several CEE countries are still processing certain historical events.
Therefore, the borders between East and West Europe are the following:
- Eastern european countries: Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria
- Western european countries: France, Spain, Portugal, Germany*, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Greece
*Even if Germany has been separated into two very culturally, economically and politically different regions for more than 40years, the reunification of the two regions (even if only partly successful) has made the mentalities closer, explaining Germany’s classification into Western european countries
To continue with, through statistics we can see a major difference of attitude towards the European Union institutions between these two categories of countries. See graph 1.
Graph 1 (2023 survey named ‘European citizens living in the United Kingdom’ has released this graph on 3.1 Attitudes towards the EU p6. By the Public Opinion Monitoring Unit (Directorate-General for Communication) and the European Parliament Liaison Office in the United Kingdom (Directorate-General for Parliamentary Democracy Partnerships))
Even if this graph does not include all european countries, it provides us with a large enough sample to emit a representative average. In order to classify this data, we are going to make an average on the view that citizens from East and West Europe have on the EU.
To start with: we are going to add the percent of ‘Very positive’ and ‘Fairly positive’ feelings of every country, add them together and divide them by the number of countries taken into account (according to the mathematic formula of averages).
For Western countries: 73 (Portugal) + 71 (Spain) + 73 (France) + 82 (Germany) + 78 (Netherlands) + 71 (Italy) + 56 (Greece) + 64 (Cyprus) = 568 divided by 8 = 71%
For Eastern countries: 42 (Latvia) + 47 (Lithuania) + 68 (Poland) + 61 (Hungary) + 48 (Romania) + 49 (Bulgaria) = 315 divided by 6 = 52,5%
To conclude, the sense of belonging to the European Union by eastern european countries is 52,5% while it is 71% by western european countries it. This being an 18,5% difference, it is significant enough for us to conclude that the sense of belonging to the European Union by Eastern European countries is weaker than in Western european countries.
This can lead to the questions of why this is feeling present. In this article, we are going to ask ourselves if the European Union law implementation has a less efficient impact on Eastern European countries than on Western European countries leading to a general feeling of dissatisfaction towards the institution. This leads us back to our research question ‘How successful is the EU law implementation in Western Europe compared to Eastern Europe?’.
In order to answer these questions, we are going to look at the case study of three different law examples: The Competition Law, The Law on LGBTQ+ rights and the Asylum seekers and Migration Policies from the point of view of two active actors in the EU: France and Hungary. France being one of the founder states of the EU and having one of the highest percentages of sense of belonging to the institution. And Hungary being a country renowned for constantly criticising and not respecting EU laws.
- Law implementations and their successfulness
- Competition law:
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, competition laws are ‘the laws that are intended to make sure that there is fair competition between businesses, for example by making rules to control monopolies’. They are put in place in order, to ensure that no enterprise is promoted over another (often because of a government preference) and that consumers have the ability to choose depending on what advantages each has to offer them. The EU promotes a specific set of policies promoting competion in order to protect european consumers and to encourage cooperation between state members, therefore supporting the four freedoms of the EU, in this case the free movement of goods and capitals, through the principle of single market.
- Waste collection case:
Until 2008, Hungarian waste market was supervised by Act 2012: CLXXXV of the Hungarian parliament. In 2008, the European Union implemented new EU Waste Framework Directives (Directives 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on waste), which took time to be applied in Hungary due to the consequent time market restructuration requires. The National Waste Management Agency was in charge of providing the change, however ‘The tenders advertised were won by a specific group of Hungarian undertakings.’ (p13; 3.3.1 Waste Collection case - Cseres, K. (2019). Rule of Law Challenges and the Enforcement of EU Competition Law a Case–Study of Hungary and Its Implications for EU Law. Forthcoming in Competition Law Review, 14.). The Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA, was established in 1990 and protects the freedom and fairness of competition in Hungary prohibiting any anti-competitive behaviours.) opened a case on the incident, however it was closed in 2015 due to a lack of public interest. The HCA realised that the Hungarian government ‘excluded the incumbents, largely foreign-owned undertakings, by restricting the issuance of operating licenses to undertakings that were controlled by the State or local councils’ (p13; 3.3.1 Waste Collection case - Cseres, K. (2019). Rule of Law Challenges and the Enforcement of EU Competition Law a Case–Study of Hungary and Its Implications for EU Law. Forthcoming in Competition Law Review, 14). And it also suspected that the group of Hungarian undertakings had worked together to fox prices and coordinated the bids. Ironically, just after the beginning of the investigation, the Hungarian Parliament passed a legislation that made the pursue of the case irrelevant to national law. Furthermore ‘The new legal provisions provide that the license to carry out public service waste management services may only be issued to economic operators in State or local council ownership, in which the State or the local council must also enjoy rights concerning the appointment or dismissal of the majority of executive employees or members of the supervisory board.’ (p14; 3.3.1 Waste Collection case - Cseres, K. (2019). Rule of Law Challenges and the Enforcement of EU Competition Law a Case–Study of Hungary and Its Implications for EU Law. Forthcoming in Competition Law Review, 14). Meaning that only governmental or organizations rooted by the government are now able to manage and take major decisions in the sector of waste management, therefore excluding all types of foreign or other competion forms.
All in all, this case is a clear example of the avoid of the application of the EU competition law in favour for certain individual undertakings elected by the Hungarian government.
- Watermelon case:
Another more known case is the ‘Watermelon Case’. In 2012, the Hungarian Competition Authority suspected that several watermelon producers had discussed on a ‘fair’ minimum price for watermelons produced in Hungary, in addition of restricting the distribution of any imported watermelons. Moreover, this arrangement was initiated by the Ministry for Rural development to ensure ‘safety and security’ for watermelon producers. When later on, the HCA launched an investigation on the case, the Hungarian Parliament passed an act ‘This amendment stated that subject to the approval of the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, an otherwise restrictive agreement in the agricultural sector could be exempted from the prohibition of anti-competitive agreements under Hungarian competition law. In addition, the amendment stated that the (HCA) must (a) suspend imposing a fine for anti-competitive practices in violation of Article 11 of the Competition Act or Article 101 TFEU conducted in respect of agricultural’ (p16; 3.3.3. Watermelon case - Cseres, K. (2019). Rule of Law Challenges and the Enforcement of EU Competition Law a Case–Study of Hungary and Its Implications for EU Law. Forthcoming in Competition Law Review, 14). This amendment clearly excludes the EU competition law directives form interfering in the agricultural sector, in addition of allowing the government (more specifically the Ministry for agriculture and Rural Development) to openly interfere into any major decision made in the sector and prohibiting the HCA to establish sanctions on it.
All in all, this case is another example of the Hungarian government turning around EU directives to promote government-based policies, to the detriment of any foreign or form of competition. These are only a few examples of the number of similar cases (sugar cartels, …) we can find in Hungary’s legislative database.
France has been increasingly efficient, especially in the financing sector, to apply the EU competition law directives. Even if exposing certain critical views upon the impact competition law might have on a countries economy.
‘France has taken steps to strengthen the enforcement system further since then, to make merger notification mandatory, provide for sharing confidential information with foreign competition enforcers, and support leniency by granting immunity.’ (p64 7. Conclusion and policy options - Wise, M. (2005). Competition law and policy in France. OECD Journal: Competition Law and Policy, 7(1), 7-81.) Numerous regulators have been put in place to ensure the management separation and the accounting within certain sectors, as well as ensuring a non-discriminatory network access as competition grows in those sectors. Nevertheless, in France’s public sectors ‘there is more potential for competition now in France than many admit. But there is less than there could be or should be.’ (p64 7. Conclusion and policy options - Wise, M. (2005). Competition law and policy in France. OECD Journal: Competition Law and Policy, 7(1), 7-81). This is because EU directives have often been imposed indirectly or very slowly as France’s administration structure only allows the implementation of the outlines of EU directives and not immediately the full program. However, even if being passive, this system of implementation seems to work as France learns from other countries who successfully implemented the EU directives. And taking time avoids the risk of going too far and too fast which might jeopardise benefits, especially that suddenly changing systems without upsetting them, may be challenging. ‘The major reason of resistance to larger-scale change, particularly to structural separation and private capital, though, is preservation of the rights of labour in the sectors affected’. (p65 - 7. Conclusion and policy options - Wise, M. (2005). Competition law and policy in France. OECD Journal: Competition Law and Policy, 7(1), 7-81) As known throughout its history, France gives a considerate importance to the place French workers maintain in the economy. The 1930’s economic crisis, encouraged French manifestations and put in place a socialist government that brought significant reforms to the working classes (L. Blum's Matignon agreement). This majorly impacted French culture who holds powerful laws to protect its working class. The fear of a change in the special privileges of the workforce is a step that slows down the process of EU law direction, as certain people may not have a guaranteed secured and advantageous position like they would have before. Moreover, ‘Divergence between DGCCRF (Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) and the Conseil about priorities and perhaps even principles demonstrates the risks, but also the promises, of integrating competition into the law that governs official action.’ (p68 - 7. Conclusion and policy options - Wise, M. (2005). Competition law and policy in France. OECD Journal: Competition Law and Policy, 7(1), 7-81). As these institutions debate on the content and how to apply the competition law with a restrictive number of negative impacts, it severely slows down the process of law implementation.
To conclude, France has effectively undertaken the EU competition law directives. However, it has met certain obstacles to apply them efficiently, even if we can observe a real struggle to improve the situation while still keeping national interest a heart.
As we can see in this case study on the implementation of EU competition law in France and Hungary, the law implementation has encountered several numbers of contradictory cases (Waste management, Watermelon case, sugar cartels, …) in Hungary, who is still in the process of trying to effectively apply the law without any possible unclear detours. On the other hand, except a slightly slow and not always clear application of the law, France has successfully implemented the EU competion law. This contrast of successful EU law application between Western and Eastern european countries is an example of how less successful the EU law application in Eastern Europe is. These may be issued by a lack of cultural adaptation as Hungary has a still expending economy and allowing foreign competition to enter the market often encounters certain difficulties, especially that Hungary is used to promote more government supported enterprises because of its past communist regime. Moreover, promoting foreign businesses over nationalist ones is a difficulty in both France and Hungary as this may be done at the expense of local citizens, therefore lowering public opinion which disadvantages governments and promotes the rise of nationalistic values as lately seen in Hungary with the expansion of the Fidesz political party.
- Asylum seekers and migration policies
In 2015 and in 2017, following the major migration crisis in 2015, the Hungarian government adapted a legislation on the right to asylum as well as on the return of non-EU citizens to the European Union when they do not have the right to remain in it. These laws allowed the creation of a transition zone next to the Serbian-Hungarian border, more specifically in Tompa and Roszke, and introduced the concept of ‘crisis situation caused by mass immigration’ allowing Hungarian authorities ‘to derogate from certain rules set out in the Asylum Procedures, Reception Conditions and Return Directives (imposed by the European Union) with a view to maintaining public order and preserving internal security.’ (12/11/2021 – Press release - Migration: Commission refers HUNGARY to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure to comply with Court judgment). Concretely, these laws allowed Hungarian authorities to hold back asylum seekers in transition zones for several months, some even having been ‘detained there for 300 or even 400 days.’, according to the media Balkan insight (Balkan Insight: Edit Inotai (21/05/2020) - Hungary to close transit zones after European Court ruling). The EU having had concerns about the compatibility of this legislation with the EU law, in December 2015 Hungary was subject to infringement procedures by the European Commission. The judgement was emitted on December the 17th 2020 (case C-808/18, Commission v Hungary), the Court found that Hungarian legislation applied in the transitions zones of the Serbian Hungarian were contrary to EU law; ‘In particular, the Court identified breaches of provisions of the Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU), the Reception Conditions Directive (Directive 2013/33/EU) and the Return Directive (Directive 2008/115/EC)’ (12/11/2021 – Press release - Migration: Commission refers HUNGARY to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure to comply with Court judgment) and ordered an immediate and clear application of the non-respected directives in the transition zones. Later on February the 25th 2021, the Hungarian government brought to light that the ‘implementation of the judgment pertaining to access to international protection and removal of non-EU nationals who do not have the right to remain in the EU would be contrary to the Hungarian Fundamental Law (Constitution)’ (12/11/2021 – Press release - Migration: Commission refers HUNGARY to the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure to comply with Court judgment). Therefore the Hungarian constitution cannot comply with the judgement of the European Court of Justice. However, the Commission recalled that the EU law is priming over national law, and even national constitution, this being an essential feature of the EU legal order, accordingly there is no reason for Hungary not to comply with EU law. This announcement received a very poor reception in Hungary, especially that the rise of the nationalistic party questions the right of EU law priming over national law, which is probably more suitable for the Hungarian people than the EU one as according to it, Hungary possesses no responsibility towards migrants (as Hungary has not any colonial past).
More recently, in November 2021 the European Commission made the decision to refer Hungary to the European Court of Justice once more, asking the Court to impose financial penalties on the country for its non-compliance with a Court decision over EU regulations pertaining to asylum and return of the 17/12/2020 judgement. Since then, Hungary has not worked to comply to the EU law as no clear instructions and measures were taken; Hungary still does not clarify the conditions to have the rights to remain on the countries territory in case of an appeal for asylum seeking nor guaranteeing effective access to asylum and international protection. Even though, on the 9th of June 2021 the European Commission followed up a letter to the Hungarian government, with a formal notice under Article 260(2) TFEU, which highlights the consequences of a noncompliance to EU law by a state member. Furthermore, Hungary does not ensure an effective access to the asylum procedures. On the contrary, in June 2023 Hungary broke the EU law again, by requesting asylum seekers to go through foreign ambassies (in Serbia and Ukraine) to apply for asylum. The European Court of Justice declared that by “making an application for international protection subject to the prior submission of a declaration of intent at a Hungarian embassy situated in a third country” the government in Budapest “has failed to fulfil its obligations” (LeMonde (22/06/2023) - EU’s top court rules Hungary broke the law by forcing migrants to go abroad to start asylum process). This goes against EU law who guarantees an easy and rapid access to any asylum-seeking procedures.
This is another relevant example of how Hungary has not complied to EU law by disrespecting several asylum-seeking and reception procedures.
On December the 19th 2023, France’s government finally agreed over a new law on immigration. Here are examples of the main arcs constituting it (according to the French newspaper LeMonde (20/12/2023) - What's in France's controversial immigration law?)
- Restrictions on benefits: The bill effectively separates foreigners in ‘a situation of employment’ and those who are not therefore having different social advantages depending on their status (family allowance, main housing aid, …).
- Regularizing undocumented people: An experiment will be lead until 2026, allowing prefects (local state officials with extensive powers) to regularize workers in short-staffed professions (hospitals, restorations, …) who were proved to have worked at least 12months out of the last 24 and have been resident in France for more than 3years. This will be issued on a case-by-case basis and will only accord a one-year residence permit. In addition, according to the French newspaper Le Monde, ‘A significant change is that undocumented workers will be allowed to apply for this residence permit without their employer's approval.’.
- Migration quotas: This bill allowed the creation of ‘quotas’ set by the Parliament, who will contain the number of foreigners who will be admitted to the country (excluding asylum seekers). However, this might be again Constitutional laws therefore we are still waiting if the Constitutional Council will strike it out.
- Jus soli + Stripping nationality: Jus soli is ‘the rule by which birth in a state is sufficient to confer nationality, irrespective of the nationality of one's parents (compare jus sanguinis)’ according to Oxford dictionaries. However, this right has been restricted as now the citizenship is not automatically accorded. Furthermore, it was also agreed to offer the possibility of demitting a binational person form its French citizenship if it has been pursued for volunteer homicide against a person in a position of ‘public authority’ (judges, soldiers, police officers, …)
- Family reunification: In order to reunificate a family, applicants need to prove that they have been in the French territory for 24months (compared to 18 before). In addition, they need to be able to prove that they have ‘stable, regular and sufficient’ resources and health insurance.
- Healthcare: The new legislation restricts the access to ‘sick foreign national’ residence permit. According to the media Le Monde ‘With a few exceptions, it will only be granted if there is no "appropriate treatment" in the country of origin. Public health insurance coverage will also be excluded if the applicant has sufficient resources.’.
This law has led to several criticism in France as the law has been passed after several fail in negotiations between the Senate and the Parliament, due to a motion for preliminary refusal imposed by the Parliament. It is only after the joint committee emitted a new bill that it has been finally voted in December 2023. However, the old version of the bill had been criticized for having had too extreme measures whilst the new version is said to have adopted the harshest rules of the old one, therefore being even more extreme. This raised several concerns through Emmanuel Macron’s government. It’s health minister, Aurelien Rousseau offered his resignation as a sign of protest again the bill, while the interior minister (Gerald Darmanin) argued that this bill was essential in order to ‘protect the French’. This is only an example of Macron’s dividing government on the issue, whilst several other protests were organized by NGOs and the population.
Even if this has been a controversial law in the French legislation, it hasn’t broken any EU law, completely complying with the European legislation.
In the case of migration policies, we can again notice a failure to comply to EU law form the hungarian government, more specifically the violation of Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU), the Reception Conditions Directive (Directive 2013/33/EU) and the Return Directive. However, France even if passing a bill that was relatively controversial over the respect of human rights and dignity (implementation of quotas), none of its clauses violated the law or the Constitution of the European Union. This may be issued by another culture dissociation as France is known for having been a powerful colonizer country, it is more opened to migration and holds a certain responsibility of its past acts. Whilst Hungary does not find any responsibility in welcoming asylum seekers or migrants, especially with the rise of extreme right winged parties. All in all, this is another example of a less successful EU law application in Eastern Europe in this case because of a lack in cultural adaptation due to an absence of consideration to the historical past of certain non-post colonizer countries.
2.3. LGBTQ+ rights
In June 2021, the Hungarian Parliament passed a bill forbidding the portrayal of homosexuality and gender re assignment on TV shows and on educational material for anyone underaged (less than 18years old). Thus, sexual education in schools may only be pursued by organizations chosen by the government. This law has been defined as violating fundamental human rights (right to privacy, non-discrimination, …) and disrespecting several rules of the single market as it forbid the commercialization of several products portraying LGBTQ+ communities. The European Commission submitted a legal case in June 2022 before the European Court of Justice. Since then, several European countries have joined as third parties (Spain, Malta, Greece, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Denmark, Austria, Sweden and Finland). European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen said ‘This bill clearly discriminates against people on the basis of their sexual orientation, and it goes against all the fundamental values of the European Union: this is human dignity, it is equality and it's the human fundamental rights. So we will not compromise on these principles’ (Europa News (07/04/2023) – 15 EU countries, including Germany and France, joined legal case against Hungary’s anti-LGBT law). Revolted by the EU accusations, Budapest puts forward a 2022 referendum showing the vast support of this governmental legislation, however failing to reach the necessary threshold of valid votes to show a complete support from the Hungarian population. Moreover, Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s foreign affairs minister declared ‘For us, the matter of child protection knows no compromises, we will protect our children’ (Europa News (07/04/2023) – 15 EU countries, including Germany and France, joined legal case against Hungary’s anti-LGBT law), arguing that this law will protect Hungarian youth form any harmful influence. During the World Press photo exhibition in 2022 Budapest, teenagers and children were banned because of the exposition of LGBTQ+ people. Joumana El Zein Khoury, the World Press Photo execute director said the photography’s portrayed ‘nothing explicit or offensive’ and world press photo organizers were ‘shocked’ by the Hungarian governments reaction. The organization stated that this is the first time that a World Press Photo has been censored in Europe.
Photo 1 (Hannah Reyes Morales for the New York Times, July 2023)
This photo (Photo 1) is an example of the several ones banned from the Hungarian World press Expo 2023. This one portrays Al Enriquez, a member of the Golden Gays Home in Philippines (an association of elderly gay men who live together in search for support).
This bill is another representative of the lack of compliance of Hungarian legislation to EU law.
France has been a historically known pioneer for LGBTQ+ rights. As being part of the 1st 15 countries in the world to authorise same-sex marriage, more specifically the 23rd of April 2013. However, they were already recognising homosexual couples in 1999 through the ‘Civil Pact of Solidarity’ (PACS). More recently in a 2021, female homosexual couples are officially authorised to medically assisted procreation (PMA). In 2008, the delegation of France made a declaration at the General Assembly of the United Nations as it fostered its first campaign for the globalized depenalisation of homosexuality, it was signed by 66 countries and created funds for civil society organisations, allowing to support LGBTQ+ communities at a global scale. Up until this date, France pleads for the rights of homosexual people in several institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations in the name of Human rights, that many states have agreed upon. More specifically, in the name of the rights to family and private life as well as the right not to be discriminated and to live in security and liberty, which implies not being confronted to arbitrary arrestation or bad treatment. France therefore pleads for not only the complete depenalization and respect of homosexuality or trans identity, but as well encourages states to allow free talking on the subject as in many cases, the liberty of expression is obstructed by laws prohibiting the evocation of homosexuality in public spaces and blocking the activities of different NGO’s (as seen in the case of Hungary). It therefore further encourages the implementation of anti-discriminatory laws by proposing its expertise through national institutions for Human rights and several other ministries in charge of security and justice. The French network of bilateral embassies (3rd in the world) constantly reminds of the engagement of France for the rights of LGBTQ+ people. It therefore recognised persecution because of sexual orientation and gender identity as a criterion for asylum seeking.
On a more administrative point of view, in October 2022, France created an ambassador for the rights of LGBTQ+ people. This nomination only confirms France’s firm position on the fights against discrimination of LGBTQ+ people, recognising it as priority issues for French foreign policy.
Once more this contrast in the respect of EU law can be seen between France and Hungary and again the implementation of EU law is less successful in Eastern Europe. Moreover, this bill may be representative of the growing gap between Western and Eastern european countries willing to defend opposite values, here on the LGBTQ+ rights. The issue of cultural difference might be relevant here too, as France since 1798 with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen has at heart the fight against inequalities. Today this declaration is pertinent for the fight against the discriminations towards LGBTQ+ people which is at heart of several French citizens. On the opposite, Hungary has been cut from any western type of social development because its belonging to the Eats block and the USSR until 1991, which might have slowed down the cultural opening to different gender and sex orientation. On the other hand, Slovenia became in 2021 the first ex-communist country to allow same-sex marriage and adoption, showing that Eastern european countries are not always closed to change. However, Europe’s reaction to LGBTQ+ rights are still mitigated. In 2021, Italy, Estonia, Cyprus and Latvia have signed a collective letter to denounce Hungary’s controversy law but have still not put their name on the 2022 lawsuit against it.
In this article, we were able to go through different case studies in France and Hungary, exploring how different EU laws; Competition Law, The Law on LGBTQ+ rights and the Asylum seekers and Migration Policies; were applied across Europe. As we saw throughout the case studies, Hungary struggles way more than France to comply to EU law, as in every case it was not respecting it. On a broader scale, we were able to confirm the contrast in the successfulness of EU law implementation between Eastern and Western European countries. Referring back to our research question ‘How successful is the EU law implementation in Eastern European countries compared to Western European countries?’. We are now able to conclude that EU law implementation is more successful in Western European countries than Eastern ones. This is due to a lack of cultural adaptation of the EU law, as France and Hungary, more broadly, Western and Eastern Europe have very contrasting and different histories. As we saw, the take in account of a possible colonial past and of the separation undergone by eastern European countries through the iron curtain; the influence played by the USSR and its communist regime; is often understated. When in reality, even if Europe has a lot of common history, every single country lived through it differently which has to be taken in account when applying the same laws to several countries across Europe. As measuring the impact of historical events on different countries is a very complex task, the EU can explore other solutions to ease the adaptation of Eastern european countries to the EU law. Some of them might be according extra delay, giving more aid or providing administrative help in order to ease the transitions and ensure the relevant use of the aids, in general being more indulgent with eastern european countries is a good reflex as the adaptation to EU law can be more complicated there. Especially that through these past years, we saw a rise of the right-winged parties in Eastern Europe, making the adoption of a common law even more challenging for the European Union. To conclude, the European Union law execution is more effective in Western Europe then in Eastern Europe because of a lack in cultural adaptation from the European Union.
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