The politics of guarding the Treaties: Commission scrutiny of rule of law compliance

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Series Details Volume 26, Number 5, Pages 696-716
Publication Date May 2019
ISSN 1466-4429 (online)
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Commission's expectations on eventual compliance explain its different behaviour when dealing with Rule of Law (RoL) crises in Hungary and Poland. Whilst the Commission activated the first stage of the procedure of article 7 against Poland in December 2017, it resisted to launch the same procedure against the Hungarian government despite mounting criticism and demands from both academics and EU institutions.

The Commission considers that compliance depends, on last instance, on the cooperation of domestic authorities. Accordingly, it prefers to engage with them in dialogue and persuasion rather than activating enforcement mechanisms. If engagement strategies fail to obtain compliance, the Commission anticipates the consequence of activating article 7 enforcement: whether it can rely or not on Council support and the effects of not having it and it also anticipates negative consequences such as the future attitude of the affected member state vis-รก-vis the EU.

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