How to turn Article 2 TEU into a down-to-Earth provision?

Coming from such an established voice advocating the protection of rule of law at the national level, Kim Scheppele’s proposal definitely enjoys sufficient legitimacy to be taken very seriously. In what follows, I look at the “problem” of democracy (1.), the “problem” with bundling infringements (2.), the problem of determining the meaning of “values” (3.), and the problem with penalties (4.). I conclude that two problems are fictitious but two others are real.

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Systemic infringement action: an effective solution or rather part of the problem?

Kim Lane Scheppele suggests a comprehensive, holistic approach to deal with prominent challenges to the basic principles of the European Union. I very much sympathize with this idea, but believe a purely legal approach in itself is not sufficient (and might even be counter-productive).

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Systemic infringement action: mind the particulars – and go for the big picture

While I agree with Kim Scheppelle’s "systemic infringement action" proposal, I am not so sure that it can be accomplished under the existing legal authority. Or better put, the prevailing understanding of what EU Treaties allow the Commission to do requires a much deeper transformation of the Commission’s role than Scheppelle suggests.

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EU-Kommission v. Ungarn: Warum wir ein "System-Vertragsverletzungsverfahren" brauchen

Was kann die Europäische Union – und vor allem die Kommission – gegen Mitgliedsstaaten unternehmen, die sich nicht länger an die grundlegendsten europäischen Regeln halten? Die Frage drängt, weil bereits mehrere Mitgliedsstaaten uns bereits vor solche Herausforderungen stellen. Eine Vertragsreform könnte die Kommission stärken. Aber kann sie handeln, ohne abwarten zu müssen, bis sie nach einem langen und mühevollen Prozess der Vertragsreform neue Kompetenzen erhält? Kim Lane Scheppele schlägt einen neuen Ansatz vor, die schlichte Ausdehnung eines existierenden Mechanismus – des Vertragsverletzungsverfahrens.

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EU Commission v. Hungary: The Case for the "Systemic Infringement Action"

What can the European Union – and in particular the European Commission – do about Member States that no longer reliably play by the most fundamental European rules? The question is now urgent because several Member States are already posing such challenges. Treaty reform could give the Commission new powers. But can the Commission act without waiting for the long and arduous process of treaty reform to provide new tools? Kim Lane Scheppele proposes a new approach, a simple extension of an existing mechanism: the infringement action.

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