The principle of equality has been incorporated in Article 4(2) TEU and imposes a duty on the Union to respect the equality of the Member States before the Treaties. It is one of the foundational principles of the Union and common to the Member States, though usually it is applied to and between natural persons, not states. In Article 4 TEU equality is closely connected to other principles concerning the relations between the EU and the Member States (the principles of conferral, residual powers and essential state functions; the principle of national identity; the principle of loyalty) and relations between the Member States (the principle of loyalty or solidarity). It is also closely related to the principles of the uniform application of EU law, the primacy of EU law and the principle of mutual trust. Yet, while the equality between the Member States is often put forward in the political debate and increasingly so, its legal use has so far remained limited.
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