Why can’t the EU just throw out rotten apples like Hungary and Poland?
Many Europeans have had enough of the two nations’ blatant homophobia, but getting rid of them is complicated
Tempers were flaring at a recent summit of the EU when Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, looked straight at Viktor Orban, his Hungarian counterpart, and said what everybody was thinking: If you don’t share our values, you should take Hungary out of the EU.
Rutte’s unsubtle nudge to make a member state exit the club was also a reminder about one of the EU’s biggest design flaws. It has no mechanism to expel countries. This raises the question: When exactly should a bloc, club or organisation be able to throw members out?
In the Hungarian case, Orban’s latest affront was a law that curbs sex education in a way that crudely stigmatises homosexuality, in effect equating it with paedophilia. But Orban has been scorning the EU’s values for years. With many small cuts, he’s whittled away at the rule of law, minority rights and press and academic freedoms...