Usual and Unusual Suspect in Protecting EU Values: An Introduction

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Table of Contents: I. Protecting EU values: The state of affairs. – II. Protecting EU values: The debate. – III. The Special Section. – IV. The contributions.

Abstract: This Article introduces the Special Section “Usual and Unusual Suspects: New Actors, Roles and Mechanisms to Protect EU Values” which collects four Articles originally presented at the NOVA workshop “EU Democracy and the Rule of Law” in June 2021. The four Articles all reflect of how the EU institutions may protect and promote the common values in the Member States, in particular in the context of the ongoing constitutional crises in Hungary and Poland, but looking also at the medium and long-term efforts the EU is called to put in place to prevent new crises and promote a stronger rule of law culture in the Member States and civil society. This Article serves to place the considerations offered in those four contributions against two backgrounds: the current and evolving state of affairs, in which democratic and rule of law questions seem to emerge more and more strongly; and the institutional and academic debate that has taken place in the last decade. We argue that the Articles of this Special Section bring an original and innovative perspective to the debate, showing that the EU response must be based on a combination of political, judicial and financial tools, and that the EU needs to both try to respond to ongoing crisis and construct a stronger toolkit for the future.

Keywords: EU values – rule of law – Court of Justice – conditionality – peer review – constitutional crises.

European Papers, Vol. 7, 2022, No 2, pp. 641-650
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/591

* Assistant professor of EU law, Maastricht University,
** Professor of European and Comparative Constitutional Law, Maastricht University,
*** Professor, Robert Schuman Centre of the European University Institute,
**** Lecturer, Maastricht University,


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