Democratic backsliding within the European Union: Why does the EU respond in different ways to different forms of democratic backsliding?

Rolf Peter Greve

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


Hi, please feel free to contact me, if there is a question, feedback or comment with regards to the thesis. I will be very happy for each response and will try my best to help out other students. My mail: This paper looks at the way the European Union deals with cases of democratic backsliding among its Member States and the underlying reasons for the different handling of the different countries cases. The Member States that will be looked at are Austria, Romania and Hungary. The first country is characterised by having a right-wing populist party in government. Romania is a case in which the government made excessive use of emergency decrees and Hungary is still being governed by a government which undermines democratic checks and balances. In order to get a better understanding of the different reaction of the EU towards each case, social constructivist and rational choice theories will be used. This paper highlights that the EU has learned from the case of Austria and has improved the legal tools of Article 7 in order to deal with future cases. Yet, even if circumstances are suited for the application of sanctioning mechanisms, such as Article 7, the successful outcome also depends on the goodwill of veto players and the willingness of the European Institutions to use these tools. Another way for the EU, if possible, is to use the legal relationship that exists between the EU and the accused Member State, thus linking the improvement of democratic backsliding with material incentives.

UddannelserEU-studies, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato24 feb. 2015
VejledereAngela Bourne


  • democratic backsliding Austria, Hungary, Romania
  • European Parliament, Orban,