The EU rule of law mechanism
For the first time, in light of the latest developments in Poland, the EU Commission applies what is known as the EU rule of law mechanism. The instrument was introduced in order to supplement the EU's toolbox for protecting common values in the Member States.
The EU rule of law mechanism does not grant the EU any new powers to enforce common values. It is a purely political instrument whose success essentially depends on the willingness of the respective Member States to cooperate. In order to be able to exert political pressure, it is therefore important that the procedure under Article 7 TEU, which provides for the imposition of sanctions, can also be initiated in case the regarding Member State refuses to cooperate with the EU Commission.