Iuliana-Mădălina LARION 161
LESIJ NO. XXV, VOL. 2/2018
to membership status
, some of them still
undergoing a co mplex reform pro cess to
consolidate their newly found democracy.
The number of Member States was expected
to gro w from 15 to 27. In this context, the
Treaty of Amsterdam
inserted a new text in
TEU, former Article F.1
, which was
supposed to act as a preventive measure by
empowering the EU to determine the
existence of a serious and persistent breach
by a Member State of EU values and,
eventually, to “suspend certain of the rights
deriving from t he application of this Treaty
to the Member State in question, including
the voting rights of the representative of the
government of that Member State in the
The Treaty of Nice
Article, to allow a public warning that there
is a clear risk o f a serious breach of EU
values by a Member S tate, further
emphasizing that the objective is to have the
Member State reconsider its position, rather
than act when the damage is already done.
The study shall make a legal analysis
of Article 7 TEU, in correlation to Article 2
TEU, then it shall present the steps taken so
far by EU institutions in applying this text in
response to concerns about serious breaches
of the rule of law by some Member States,
especially in the last three years.
The matter is not only recent and in
development, as it is the first time Article 7
TEU might be applied, but it is also of the
utmost importance for the future of the EU,
giving rise to a fiery debate about the
efficiency of the means to protect EU values
at the disp osal of EU institutions and about
complementary solutions that might be
In 2004 the EU welcomed: Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland,
Slovakia, Slovenia and in 2007 Bulgaria and Romania.
Signed on 2 October 1997. It entered into force on 1 May 1999.
Currently Article 7 of the consolidated version of TEU.
Article 1 point 9 of t he Treaty of Amsterdam, available at: https://europa.eu/european-
union/sites/europaeu/files/docs/ body/treaty_of _amsterdam_en.pdf, last accessed on 10 March 2018.
Signed on 26 February 2001. It entered into force on 1 February 2003.
Hillion, “EU Enlargement”, 193.
adopted, such as infringement actions or the
multi-speed EU or the differential allocation
The study aims to identify the
weaknesses of Article 7 TEU and give
suggestions on how it could be improved, to
present the actions taken so far by EU
institutions on its basis a nd to assess their
efficiency, in an effort to see the limits of the
current mechanisms and to find
complementary ones that would favor
Given the great interest the subject
matter stirs up in legal literature, there are
quite a few doctrinal works that have taken
up the topic. The study intends to offer a
more technical ap proach, focused on the
legal texts and on the juridical aspects of the
problems being debated.
2. The legal mechanism for
protecting EU values
2.1 The creation and development of
Article 7 TEU
The 1993 Copenhagen European
Council took the view “that post-communist
central and eastern European countries had a
vocation to become members of the
. One of the three criteria the
European Council set out for the candidate
country aspiring to mem bership was
achieving the “stability of institutions
guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law,
human rights and respect for and protection