According to this article, EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger expressed about linking "rule of law" within a EU member with how much money that specific member can get:

The possibility of tying payments to adherence to the "rule of law" was also openly expressed in the Commission's budget reflection paper. "We haven't made up our minds, but it is part of the discussion," said a non-committal Oettinger in Brussels.

Several EU countries are monitored using Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification and as far as I know, EU financed projects are checked thoroughly to be correctly executed (not waste money, transparent acquisition process etc.).

Question: Why does EU consider an extra condition ("rule of law") for its members projects financing?

  • 1
    Prevents their funds from funding totalitarian rulers or dictators? I'm guessing this concern is largely fueled by events in Turkey over the past year or so. Aug 11, 2017 at 15:10
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    @PoloHoleSet Turkey is not a member of the European Union. I think you mean Poland, which is the country which receives the most money from the EU, while shifting away from the core values of the EU.
    – Philipp
    Aug 11, 2017 at 17:30
  • Consider the opposite (no rule of law). That invariably spells huge corruption problems. Why send money for projects to a country if you expect it to end up in the wrong hands without benefiting said project? The real question seems to be why one would only now feel the need to explicitly mention this, and the answer probably ties in to relatively recent anti-democratic turns of events.
    – oerkelens
    Aug 12, 2017 at 11:08
  • @oerkelens - I think this is caught by current verifications of projects using EU funds. Some journalists argue that lower abortion rates from countries such as Romania is also due to corruption, since these funds are much harder to use for something else, as opposed to internal funds.
    – Alexei
    Aug 12, 2017 at 11:54
  • @Philipp - but there were constant talks about Turkey's ascension into the EU which only recently halted. I was speaking more about a safeguard against Turkey joining under current conditions. Aug 13, 2017 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


It's not about the way the money is used, it's about using whatever means they have available to put some pressure on this member state. Cutting some funding is the main leverage the EU has, short of suspending a member's voting rights (which is envisioned by the treaties but is a very bold step, never used before).

I am not sure of the soundness of the legal basis for this measure, they might also just be floating an idea to gauge reaction and influence the discussion (the excerpt you provided shows that even the relevant EU Commissioner remained very vague).


Until recently, that EU members were all democracies was a matter of course. Recent events in Poland make it no longer so.

Brussels is thus pondering what steps it can take to apply pressure on PiS, for instance by denying them EU funding. It's legally bound to promote democratic values since the Lisbon treaty.

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