Conditionality of EU funds: an instrument to enforce EU fundamental values?

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In order to tackle democratic backsliding in EU member states, the European Commission proposed a new financial conditionality in May 2018 that would allow the suspension of EU funds in cases of systematic rule of law infringements. This article seeks to evaluate the Commission’s proposal in terms of its chances at successfully deterring or redressing such infringements. Drawing on both the literature on EU enlargement and on international sanctions, we identify a list of scope conditions for conditionality in order to systematically evaluate the institutional design and analyze the context of application of the proposed rule of law conditionality on EU funds with regard to its expected effectiveness. We find that the current proposal would indeed improve the speed and likelihood of sanctions compared to existing mechanisms, but lacks in the determinacy of conditions and procedures, thus undermining its perceived legitimacy and chances of success.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Integration
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 02.01.2021

Bibliographical note

We would like to thank the panel participants at the 2018 congress of the German Political Science Association and at the 2019 Biennial Conference of the European Union Studies Association and in particular Bernd Schlipphak and Milada Vachudova as well as two anonymous referees for their valuable feedback on earlier versions of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    Research areas

  • Politics - European Union, conditionality, financial sanctions, rule of law, democratic backsliding