EU Common Values at Stake: is Article 7 TEU an Effective Protection Mechanism?

EU Common Values at Stake: is Article 7 TEU an Effective Protection Mechanism?

Publication date:
05/2014
Author:
Glòria Budó, Master in European Law, Institut d’Études Européennes, Université Libre de Bruxelles
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Documents CIDOB (Nova època): 1

E-ISSN: B 11.000-2014

Article 7 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) sets up a mechanism to guarantee the protection of EU core values, with an early warning system in case of a risk of breaches, and a sanctions mechanism in the event of a serious and persistent breach by a Member State. Regrettably, this article has never been activated and therefore its objectives are far from being achieved. The main issue lies with the highly political character of this procedure and the fact that it does not envisage any legal or judicial intervention.

The main decisions for applying Article 7 TEU are vested in institutions such as the Council and the European Council, composed of MS, which are reluctant to sanction another MS because this may be turned against them. In view of the foreseen growth of extremist and populist parties, it is important to carry out reforms to ensure effective protection of common values and fundamental rights.

Keywords: Article 7 TEU, sanction mechanisms, EU common values, democracy, rule of law