Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 March 2022
The effects of populist narratives have become an increasingly important topic on the European Union (EU) agenda, both political and juridical, because no EU Member State is immune from populist movements, which are ever-popular.1 The last decade demonstrated that domestic constitutional populism has the ability to affect the supranational political entity in myriad ways.2 The rule of law – a fundamental EU value,3 first assumed politically,4 then proclaimed judicially,5 and, finally, codified in the Treaties to initially uncertain effects,6 – became a proxy: graduating into the interface between the populism-affecting domestic constitutional arrangements and the EU legal order.7 The inept reaction of the EU institutions to the rule of law crisis in Member States (Poland and Hungary in particular), ‘illiberalism within’,8 suggests that the constitutional populism undermined the foundations and effectiveness of the EU rule of law. Worse still – the developments over the last decade highlight the fact that the EU might be drifting away from its proclaimed foundations of democracy, rule of law and human rights protection: its very raison d’être stands undermined. Indeed, the added value of the Union as a tool to empower ‘autocratic legalism’,9 uniting states engaged in ‘ruling by cheating’,10 as opposed to a club of rule of law-abiding democracies, is unclear. One thing is certain, however: such a Union cannot have any future.