Chapter 10: Consensus politics and EU disequilibrium: the German Council Presidency 2021 and the rule of law mechanism
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This chapter discusses Germany's role in negotiating the MFF, the recovery fund and the rule of law mechanism in the second semester of 2020 from a new intergovernmentalist perspective. Two hypotheses of new intergovernmentalist analysis are central to the analysis: First, that member states in contemporary EU politics see consensus as an end in itself. Second, that member state governments seek to circumvent resistance to integration rather than confronting political differences more profoundly. Even though this mode of decision-making may solve short-term problems it reinforces a disequilibrium in European Union politics. The chapter documents the commitment of the German government to consensus politics in the European Council and the Council and explains why chancellor Merkel actively sought to accommodate challenger governments in Budapest and Warsaw. Having missed the opportunity to design a more hard-hitting rule of law mechanism, the EU continues to remain devoid of any credible sanctioning mechanisms in relation to member states which opt for challenging the EU's political and legal order.

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