The use of Article 7 TEU against Poland and Hungary has been generally welcomed with relief, proving that, at last, the EU is ready to defend Article 2 TEU values when Member States openly violate them. However, it is not clear yet what the main value that is claimed to be breached − the rule of law − amounts to in the EU. Actually, the resort to Article 7 TEU crowns a process of equipping the EU with a rule of law framework to combat Member States’ failures in both law making and enforcement, regardless of the law’s content and provenance. This article demonstrates that the EU rule of law is anchored to a ‘thin’ conceptualisation of the ideal and that the EU is moving from a mere rule of EU law towards a more sophisticated EU rule of law perspective. This process is, at the same time, enlarging the boundaries of the EU legal order and reaffirming the Union character − and not Unity only − of EU integration through law.
Keywords: EU values, EU law, rule of law, rule of law crisis, compliance.