The Issue of Values
Roman Petrov and Peter Van Elsuwege (eds.), The Application of EU Law in the Eastern Neighbourhood of the European Union, London: Routledge, 2014, pp. 46-62.
23 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2013 Last revised: 28 May 2016
Date Written: September 1, 2013
This contribution provides a brief overview of the EU’s engagement with values both internally and externally, to illustrate the problematic nature of a number of deeply-held assumptions which inform the EU’s engagement with the Member States and with the third countries alike. As the analysis of the recent legal-political developments demonstrates, we are only witnessing the first timid attempts to move away from these assumptions. The introduction of Article 7 TEU into the Treaties, treating the Rui Tavares Report seriously, as well as the spirit and the letter of the draft Association Agreement with Ukraine all point in this direction. Essentially, in dealing with values no coherent distinction can be made between the EU on the ‘inside’ as opposed to the third countries: problems can equally arise in both spheres. This makes it clear that the acquis as such is not about the values and should be treated accordingly. Its promotion in the neighbourhood is not necessarily capable of doing the trick of democratizing EU’s partners or ensuring that they adhere to the rule of law. In other words, the rules that the EU promotes are not necessarily about values and should be treated as such. This conclusion is of essential importance also for the procedural side of the EU’s engagement with the neighbours, allowing the questioning of the reported successes of the principle of conditionality. Taking the wide-spread misconceptions into account is of essential importance both when designing the EU’s engagement with the neighbourhood as well as in the context of EU’s internal reform.
Keywords: EU Law, external relations, ENP, neighourhood policy, Ukraine, values, conditionality, human rights, Association Agreement, Rule of Law, Tavares, Hungary, crisis
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