EUROPEAN UNION MECHANISMS TO SAFEGUARD THE RULE OF LAW: THE CASE OF POLAND

The expression “Copenhagen dilemma” has become a commonplace among EU scholars. This dilemma refers to the following paradox. The EU imposes very strict conditions regarding respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law to candidate countries but, on the other hand, the Union has very few instruments at disposal to guarantee the same respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law once this candidate country has become a Member State. This idea can be clearly illustrated with the examples of the so called “illiberal” regimes in Hungary and Poland. It is true that the “political” instruments (article 7 Treaty on the European Union, Rule of Law Framework) have been (so far) quite ineffective. But it is also true that the role played by the CJEU in interpreting and applying Article 19 TEU to the Polish controversial judicial reform has opened new perspectives in the safeguard of the European Union Rule of Law.