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This fact was correct when it was created on 26 Oct 2021

Can the EU revoke a country’s membership?

There is no mechanism for the EU to revoke a country’s membership of the Union.

Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) can be used to suspend certain rights from a member state – such as voting and representation – when said country is identified as persistently breaching the EU’s fundamental values.

These sanctions must be voted through by qualified majority by the EU Council. However, before that, unanimity in the EU Council is required to agree that a member state has committed a ‘serious and persistent breach’, this mechanism breaks down when more than one member state is committing breaches as they will vote to support each other.

This is well-illustrated in the ongoing rule of law disputes between the EU and its member states Hungary and Poland, as outlined in this explainer.

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