The European Union as a club: the case for and against uniform values

One of the arguments voiced against the enforcement of the values listed in Article 2 of TEU is that this infringes the sovereignty of the Member States. This argument is usually given short shrift since it flies in the face of the belief that state sovereignty has lost its relevance within the EU. I shall argue that such impatience precludes us from properly weighing some considerations which do indeed speak against interfering in the affairs of Member States. However unique in character, the EU continues to operate against the background of general international law. Yet the peculiarity of the EU is that it was conceived from the outset as a community of like-minded states. This fact considerably weakens the case for non-intervention, but does not warrant piecing the veil of sovereignty entirely. It both provides a justification for insisting on the uniformity of values in the EU and also sets limits to the level of uniformity that can be demanded.