The Use of New Governance Tools in the EU’s Internal Promotion of Its Values

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Elisabeth van Rijckevorsel, Center of Philosophy of Law, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium


    The recent constitutional crisis in Romania and democratic regression in Hungary have contributed to relaunch the debate on the need for the European Union to protect its founding values. Academics and European institutions have interrogated themselves on how the EU shall make reluctant Member States comply with its founding values. While analyzing this issue, scholars noticed how the European Commission’s practice in the launch of infringement actions as well as the Court of Justice’s case law subordinated these values to other objectives of the EU as the area of freedom, security and justice and the internal market. This contribution pushes the criticism further and looks into two initiatives of the European Commission to promote European Union’s founding values internally: the EU Justice Scoreboard and the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. In particular, it is argued that these new instruments reflect an emerging consensus on behalf of the European Commission to recourse to experimentalist governance mechanisms in values related matters where it is not fully competent to act. As experimentalist instruments, they insist on the autonomy of local authors, the involvement of civil society and major stakeholders as well as other international organizations and on a regular monitoring. Nevertheless, the European Commission, in the way it designed these two instruments, does not fully uphold this logic. Experimentalism requires that actors question their own assumptions, which may lead to a shift in the original policy. This is not the case in the EU Roma Framework nor in the Justice scoreboard where the broader values of minority rights and rule of law are actually subordinated to the economic growth’s imperative. This confirms how the European Union’s competences and interests actually restrain the ways its values are defined internally.