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The EU Rule of Law Mechanisms – a Basis of EU Identity

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Human rights and democracy are at the core of the EU treaties. Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty states that “the Union is founded on the values for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights including the rights of persons belonging to minorities”. These are criteria all European states must respect to be allowed to apply for membership (Art. 49) and serious breaches of these values by a Member State may lead to a suspension of some of its rights resulting from membership (Art. 7).

When these texts were first discussed, in the framework of the European Convention in 2002, they did not raise major objections. When the Lisbon Treaty was concluded, the texts from the Constitutional Treaty related to EU values were adopted without discussion. The EU Charter was given the same value as the treaties, and, shortly thereafter, the EU acceded to the Council of Europe’s Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

We are now in 2024, and what do we see? These values, as well as our democratic liberalism are put seriously into question – inside and outside the EU.


The rest of this article can be found on the TEPSA website.


(Photo credit: Pexels, Sora Shimazaki)