Critical Reasoning (CR)

Q. Poland and Hungary’s domestic laws are incompatible with the European Union’s core values, however, both countries enjoy impunity. The latest infringement proceedings against the two countries underscore the EU’s limits in enforcing compliance with common democratic standards given the bloc’s stringent requirement of unanimity among all member states to punish offending members. In theory, both states can be stripped of their voting rights in the EU and face financial sanctions. But each also knows that a unanimous decision by the bloc, under Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, could be vetoed by the other.

Which one of the following captures the essence of the given paragraph?

  1. Both Poland and Hungary enjoy impunity despite their laws infringing on the EU’s core values.
  2. A unanimous decision by the EU, taken under Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, can be vetoed by both Poland and Hungary.
  3. The EU must remove the unanimous decision clause to be able to punish offending members.
  4. The EU does not have an adequate enforcement mechanism for its democratic standards.

Please Note: The answer to this question will be posted tomorrow morning as a comment below.

See our previous ‘Questions of the Day’:  

Verbal Question of the Day: 46

Verbal Question of the Day: 45


  1. Mayank Khanna

    The passage talks about EU and says that some EU members despite not following rules of EU are not punished as stated theoretically. It is because some rules does not let them do so.

    1- The idea that these countries enjoy impunity means there is no punishment at all, which is not the case. There has been infringement preceding against the two
    2- Not the main idea
    3- Removing the law is not the concern of author
    4- The point states appropriately that there is lack of proper mechanism to enforce law .

    1. TG.Prabhat

      Hi Mayank, a punishment may have been awarded to Poland and Hungary after the infringement proceedings, had the unanimity clause not been there. The infringement proceedings do not count as a punishment. Apart from that, your reasoning is correct. Well done 🙂

  2. The passage talks about the fact that EU has certain limitations in imposing democratic standards because of the unanimity clause which is the reason why the two countries -poland and Hungary do not fear punishment.Thus it’s not about Poland and Hungary enjoying impunity but the essence is that EU has certain limits due to the unanimity clausewhich makes it possible for countries to not fear punishment.Having said that , options 3 and 4 appear relevant.But option 3 is more of a suggestion,whereas option 4 highlights the problem with the EU enforcement mechanism,which is the essence of the extract.

  3. TG.Prabhat

    The answer is 4. The fact that EU’s ability to enforce compliance with its democratic standards has been emphasized (‘underscored’) to be limited in the paragraph makes this the main point. The other statements act as supporting statements. The premises for 4 are that Poland and Hungary enjoy impunity, despite them being incompatible with EU’s core values, due to a unanimous decision required to punish any offending member.

    1 serves as a premise for the conclusion.

    2 is a peripheral point of the argument.

    3 is beyond the scope of the argument.

    About 60% of the answers are correct. All those who chose 4- great going! Shubhra’s astute reasoning deserves a special mention here.

    Today, a parajumble on the industry that is being dominated by Russia-

    1. Sir, don’t you think option 4 serves as the conclusion (summary) whereas option 1 captures the main idea behind the conclusion? We were asked to find the essence of the passage and not the summary.
      Could you also explain the difference between the main point and the conclusion?

      1. TG.Prabhat

        The conclusion question stem and the summary question stem are not the same.

        Question stems that ask for the summary, main point, main idea, essence or gist of the paragraph are all the same.

        The conclusion is a subset of the summary/ main point/ main idea/ essence/ gist of the paragraph.
        The summary of an argument must contain the conclusion.

        The conclusion is always in the form of a suggestion, piece of advice, claim, rebuttal, opinion or plan of action. Premises are statements that collectively prove the conclusion- they include any data, beliefs or facts that support the conclusion.

        If in an argument, the conclusion depends solely on one premise, the summary of the argument must contain both.
        In case a conclusion depends on multiple premises, the option which mentions more premises (in short) along with the conclusion will be the most accurate answer.

        In case you have not done CR 4 yet, Richa, don’t worry. All these concepts are covered thoroughly in that class. Which CR classes have you attended?

        1. I’ve just had CR4 last week but have not practiced questions yet. I’ll practice more in order to understand better. Thank you for the explanation.

          1. TG.Prabhat

            Understanding these concepts is of primary importance now, Richa. Go through your class notes and the worksheet. Then try applying the concepts to the questions that you practice. Keep all your doubts ready and attend the discussion class. Also, CR is vital for cracking RCs. If you are in the CAT’18 batch, try to complete the module, along with all the discussion classes and sheets, soon.

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