The European Union was founded by the Treaty of Maastricht (1992) succeeding the hither-to-existing European Community. Although the main focus of EU activities has always been oriented on economic integration, the expansion of the EU powers required that more attention be given to the protection of human rights and, more generally, to the respect of the rule of law.

The Maastricht Treaty did not establish any particular procedures allowing the Union to react to threats against the rule of law that might arise in the Member-States. However, the prospect of the EU’s enlargement towards the East (as well as the so-called Haider controversy in Austria) prompted modifications of EU law. FULL DETAILS