MTA Law Working Papers

A Jogtudományi Intézet műhelytanulmányai

Bárd Petra – Chronowski Nóra – Fleck Zoltán – Kovács Ágnes – Körtvélyesi Zsolt – Mészáros Gábor: Is the EU toothless? An assessment of the EU Rule of Law enforcement toolkit

This paper lists and critically assesses European Rule of Law enforcement instruments. It argues that these could have provided dissuasive responses to severe and systemic Rule of Law violations in Hungary, had they been applied consequently, promptly, and in a coordinated manner. But they have not been used, or not effectively, or not in a timely manner. To prove this point, Hungarian cases of Rule of Law violations are listed and analysed, pointing out instances where European enforcement tools were applied; where they were applied, but could have been employed more efficiently; and where they could have been applied, had there been a political will to do so. Based on the assessment, authors consider infringement procedures and the rule of law conditionality mechanism to be the most effective tools of enforcement, and encourage the Commission to follow academic proposals and bundle cases to show and adequately respond to the systemic nature of autocratisation, where interconnected instances of Rule of Law violations mutually reinforce each other. The full series: The Crisis of the Rule of Law, Democracy and Fundamental Rights in Hungary (Paper I: 2022/4) – Tactics Against Criticism of Autocratization. The Hungarian Government and the EU’s Prolonged Toleration (Paper II: 2022/5) – Inventing Constitutional Identity in Hungary (Paper III: 2022/6) – The Hungarian Constitutional Court and the Abusive Constitutionalism (Paper IV: 2022/7) – Is the EU Toothless? An Assessment of the Rule of Law Enforcement Toolkit (Paper V: 2022/8) – The CJEU and the ECtHR – High Hopes or Wishful Thinking? (Paper VI: forthcoming) – The Changes Undermining the Functioning of a Constitutional Democracy (Paper VII: 2022/9)