The Rule of Law in the EU: Crisis – Differentiation – Conditionality

Working Paper
Renata Uitz


The EU’s decade-long rule of law crisis has normalized into an everyday constitutional and political experience. The lens of differentiated governance calls for a close inquiry into the legal and political dynamics — processes, incentive structures and inter-institutional conflicts — that are consequential for the future of the Union as a ‘community of values and of laws.’ Tracing the debate on financial sanctions (budgetary conditionality) in the broader context of the rule of law crisis, this article argues that the future of Europe hinges on attributing practical, political and legal significance to the founding values set forth in Article 2 TEU. Without respect for these founding values differentiated governance as a set of political or legal practices and as an academic-intellectual project has no purpose or endpoint.