Can a state be forced to leave the European Union?

  • Lets assume that some EU member states think that a certain other member state should no longer be a member of the EU. In contrary to this question, that state has no intention to withdraw from the EU on their own accord, so Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union does not apply.

    Is there a process by which a member state can be "kicked out" of the EU or some circumstances which cause the EU membership to become invalid automatically?

    Incidentally, that's why many of the ideas floated during the last acute phase of the Greek crisis (e.g. by the German finance ministry) were pure legal fiction with no basis in reality. The only reason Greece caved in or anything happens really is because its banking system is dependent on the ECB and the European monetary system, politically the EU and the other member states have zero leverage.

    @Relaxed The "grexit" was about Greece leaving the *Eurozone* (countries which use the Euro as their official currency), not about leaving the *European Union*. These are intervened but still separated institutions. Leaving one does not necessarily imply leaving the other.

    The discussion went in all directions and was completely baseless anyway so it's difficult to claim it was about something very specific in particular, but the crux of the matter is that under the EU treaty itself, the Euro is an integral part of EU membership, no exception or going back except for the three countries that got an opt out in 1992. The point is that the legal basis for both the Euro and EU membership more generally is exactly the same (namely the EU treaties) and those treaties have no provision to exclude a member or to be revised without unamity.

  • jebar8

    jebar8 Correct answer

    6 years ago

    No, there is no mechanism for any state to be expelled from the European Union. Article 7 does however allow the council to suspend the representation and voting rights of a state which repeatedly violates the EU's founding principles. This type of vote could effectively eject the state, though not officially.

    +1 for the first sentence but formally suspending the voting rights would not amount to an exclusion from the European union. That state would still be bound by all the rules and regulations, its business would have access to the common market, its citizens covered by the freedom of movement, etc. Of course, that's an entirely theoretical distinction, it's difficult to imagine what would really happen if the EU was prepared to go as far as invoking article 7...

    Thank you for your answer. So I assume that the current discussion to put Poland "under supervision" in response to certain authoritarian policies enacted by their new government, it is about taking the first step which would make the suspension of Poland under article 7 possible?

    @Phillip yes I believe this "supervision" is the first step towards invoking Article 7. The article you linked to quotes a commissioner as saying Poland "could lose voting rights."

    One strategy I have heard suggested is that all the other countries drop out of the EU and form a new union.

    Another format of EU-level sanction against a state is to temporarily ban the diplomats of one Member State from all meetings. Happened to Austria under Haider, c. 1999-2000.

    Both Poland and Hungary is within the Article 7 process now.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM