Tom TheunsApr 14, 2022
The Need for an EU Expulsion Mechanism: Democratic Backsliding and the Failure of Article 7
Democratic Backsliding and the Failure of Article 7
Journal Res Publica 2022
"The rule of law is a means by which [western EU members] want to knead us into something that resembles them," warned Viktor Orbán during his successful campaign for a fourth consecutive term as Hungary's prime minister.
Yet, until Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the EU has held back on the demands it makes of members regarding core democratic norms and values. For a decade, the EU's institutions and most of its members have worried about the possibility of the emergence of a full autocracy within its borders but have been held back by diplomatic interests and the constraints imposed by unanimity in the use of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union.
The war, Orbán's re-election, a split in the Polish-Hungarian axis, and the lengthening queue of eastern membership applicants have changed the backdrop. The political will to ensure a liberal-democratic union has been reinforced but Article 7 is still inadequate to the task.
Tom Theuns, assistant professor of political theory and European politics at Leiden University’s Institute of Political Science, has a nuclear option in his new paper: The Need for an EU Expulsion Mechanism: Democratic Backsliding and the Failure of Article 7 (Res Publica, Springer - 2022)*.
Mentioned: Memory and the future of Europe: Rupture and integration in the wake of total war by Peter Verovšek (Manchester University Press, 2020) and Adding a Bite to a Bark? A Story of Article 7, the EU Enlargement, and Jörg Haider by Wojciech Sadurski (Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 10/01)
*The authors' book recommendations are: Technopopulism: The New Logic of Democratic Politics by Christopher Bickerton and Carlo Invernizzi Accetti (OUP Oxford, 2021) and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Little Brown, 2013).
Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Advisors (a division of Energy Aspects).