Better Late than Never? On the European Commission's Rule of Law Framework and its First Activation

13 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2016

See all articles by Dimitry Kochenov

Dimitry Kochenov

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law

Laurent Pech

Middlesex University - School of Law

Date Written: September 2016

Abstract

This article first offers an overview of the European Commission's Rule of Law Framework, which was adopted in March 2014. The mechanism's potential effectiveness and the Commission's reasoning to justify its first activation against Poland in January 2016, when it has failed to do so against Hungary, are subsequently analyzed. While the Commission should be commended for seeking to address increasing rule of law backsliding at Member State level, our main submission is that reliance on the Rule of Law Framework alone, if only because of its soft and discursive nature, will not remedy a situation where systemic violations of EU values form part of a governmental plan to set up an ‘illiberal’ regime. This article is part of the September 2016 Symposium titled ‘The Great Rule of Law Debate in the EU’, which also includes The Great Rule of Law Debate in the EU by Dimitry Kochenov, Amichai Magen and Laurent Pech (DOI:), Cracks in the Foundations: Understanding the Great Rule of Law Debate in the EU by Amichai Magen (DOI:), Strengthening the Rule of Law in the EU: The Council's Inaction by Peter Oliver and Justine Stefanelli (DOI:), The European Parliament's Role: Towards New Copenhagen Criteria for Existing Member States? by Judith Sargentini and Aleksejs Dimitrovs (DOI:), Upholding Shared Values in the EU: What Role for the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights? by Gabriel N. Toggenburg and Jonas Grimheden (DOI:).

Keywords: Rule of Law, European Commission, Article 7, Poland, Hungary

Suggested Citation

Kochenov, Dimitry and Pech, Laurent, Better Late than Never? On the European Commission's Rule of Law Framework and its First Activation (September 2016). JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 54, Issue 5, pp. 1062-1074, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2824805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jcms.12401

Dimitry Kochenov (Contact Author)

University of Groningen - Faculty of Law ( email )

Oude Kijk in 't Jatstraat 26
Groningen, 9712 EK
Netherlands

Laurent Pech

Middlesex University - School of Law ( email )

The Burroughs
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

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