The EU’s Desire for Sovereignty Lays it Open to Blackmail

Poland and Hungary are increasingly abusing the EU's unanimity principle to block decisions and enforce their own benefits. With attacks on the rule of law, they undermine European values and ultimately the sovereignty of the EU. There are hardly any remedies in sight. Ejection from the EU is just as difficult to implement as an "EU 2.0", as a study by the Centre for European Policy (cep) shows.


"It is questionable whether an expulsion from the EU is legally feasible," says cep lawyer Lukas Harta, who subjected possible scenarios to a reality check with cep experts Matthias Kullas, Patrick Stockebrandt, Henning Vöpel and André Wolf. According to the report, exclusion is possible in extreme cases on the basis of customary international law according to Art. 60 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. "Precondition: a member state turns away from democracy or persistently breaks EU law," Harta explains. Before that, all available means would have to be exhausted - including the procedure under Art. 7 TEU. "Since Poland and Hungary are protecting each other and preventing proceedings against them from being concluded, this step is difficult at present," says cep lawyer Harta. The cep experts unanimously warn against such a step as well as against a quasi-exclusion of "problematic" member states by establishing an "EU 2.0". "All EU agreements, including free trade agreements, would have to be renegotiated, because the EU 2.0 would not be the legal successor of the EU. Realistically, this step is therefore not feasible," says cep economist Matthias Kullas.

cep board member Henning Vöpel sees a difficult balancing act for the EU, but warns against hasty action: "Finding common positions secures the political cohesion of the EU. However, there is a natural limit, namely where institutional procedures come into conflict with political sovereignty."