The European Union is founded on values common to all Member States (MS). These are supposed to ensure a level of homogeneity among MS, while respecting their national identities, so facilitating the development of a European identity and the integration process.
Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) provides mechanisms to enforce EU values. These are based on a political decision by the Council with the participation of the Commission and the Parliament, and are exempt from judicial review.
Many call for new instruments to be set up as the current Article 7 mechanism is said to be unusable due to the high thresholds needed to adopt a decision in the Council as well as MS’ political unwillingness to turn to it.
Diverse new approaches have been proposed by academics and by political actors, ranging from setting up an independent monitoring body called the ‘Copenhagen Commission’ or extending the mandate of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, to introducing the possibility to suspend national measures suspected of infringing EU law.
The European Parliament (EP) launched the idea of a ‘European fundamental rights policy cycle’ with the cooperation of EU institutions, MS and the Fundamental Rights Agency, to ensure effective monitoring of respect for EU values.