Safeguarding Fundamental Values of the EU Through the Adoption of Sanctions


  • Maruša T. Veber University of Ljubljana



This paper examines various sanctions mechanisms the EU has in place to respond to systematic and serious violations of EU’s fundamental values within and outside its borders. It argues that the EU is better equipped and more willing to adopt such sanctions against third states than against its members. Recent examples of Poland and Hungary show that even serious and systematic violations of fundamental values within the EU do not trigger the adoption of sanctions under Article 7 TEU. On the other hand, respect for fundamental values such as human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, lies at the very heart of EU’s external policies. Essential elements clauses and non-execution clauses are included in most of EU’s international agreements with third states and allow for the relatively swift adoption of sanctions e.g. in the form of the suspension of development aid to third states in cases of grave violations of human rights. Even more prominent is, however, the EU’s third states sanctioning practice under its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), under which the EU regularly sanctions violations of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law through the adoption of restrictive measures.