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Solving the Copenhagen Dilemma: Are Infringement Proceedings an Effective Tool for Redressing Democratic Backsliding in EU Member States?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The European Union (EU) is a community of values; its accession criteria stipulate that a candidate state must have stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights before being granted membership. In recent years, however, some member states have experienced democratic backsliding post-accession. Consequently, the EU’s general ability to monitor and halt such backsliding in existing member states has been questioned. This problem is commonly referred to as the Copenhagen Dilemma. To address the Copenhagen Dilemma, this paper will examine the effectiveness of one central mechanism that they EU (specifically, the European Commission) may use to enforce democratic principles: infringement procedures. First, a conceptual analysis of the Copenhagen Dilemma, which serves a a framework for the subsequent study of infringement procedures, is conducted. Subsequently, five cases in which the Commission has launched infringement procedures against Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria to redress instances of democratic backsliding are examined. Each case study ultimately aims to determine what (if any) level of compliance the Commission achieved, and whether or not it is possible to establish a causal relationship between the infringement procedure and that achievement. The results are cautiously optimistic, as several case studies demonstrate both compliance and causality. In other words, the Commission has often been successful in using infringement procedures to redress instances of democratic backsliding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 60 p.
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-275820OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-275820DiVA: diva2:901359
Subject / course
Political Science
Educational program
Master Programme in Political Science
Available from: 2016-02-08 Created: 2016-02-08 Last updated: 2016-02-08Bibliographically approved

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