A Rule of Law Crisis in Lithuania? Possible Consequences of the EU Missing an Opportunity to Recognise Rule of Law Deficiencies in Yet Another Member States

The principles of the rule of law and separation of powers have recently come under significant strain in Lithuania. Irresponsible governance and politicisation of judicial appointments during 2020 have left the country facing an unprecedented constitutional crisis. For over a year now, the Seimas has refused to appoint three new Constitutional Court justices in a timely manner, meaning that the judges whose terms have expired were left to continue their duties in ‘over-time’. Furthermore, the non-replacement of Constitutional Court justices has been compounded by other attacks on judicial independence by the executive. This paper considers the impact of these recent developments on national constitutionalism, the rule of law and democracy. This paper also questions why EU political institutions have failed to take notice of some clear rule of law breaches in Lithuania, which is particularly relevant considering the EU’s ongoing rule of law crisis.