16 Colum. J. Eur. L. 385 (2010)
Wojciech Sadurski. Challis Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Sydney, Faculty of Law. My great thanks to Dr. Karine Caunes for her excellent research.
The Article 7 mechanism of the Treaty on European Union fills a gap in the Union’s approach to human rights protection by setting up a system of early warning about the risk of breaches of rights in a Member State, and of sanctions in the event of a determination that such breaches have occurred. This Article traces the history of the discussions and decisions that have incorporated this mechanism into the TEU system and emphasizes that, at each important stage of this process, the prospect of eastward enlargement of the Union has played an important part. E.U. decision-makers have cast a cautious sidewards glance at the newentrants from Central Europe, particularly in the fields of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. The principal strategy adopted to contain the perceived risks associated with these new members has been to preemptively strengthen the monitoring mechanism in these fields. In this way, somewhat ironically, the eastward enlargement of the European Union has been an important impetus of supranational constitutionalisation of the Union.