Towards a theoretical framework for studying “pressure” in the EU constitutional order
This paper develops a theoretical framework for the study of “pressure” in EU constitutional legal scholarship. Pressure is understood as a promise of consequences unless certain requirements are complied with. This encompasses both conditionality mechanisms and long-standing EU constitutional mechanics relying on a diversity of legal provisions, including for motions of censure, for veto powers, for sanctions, or for the discontinuation of financial assistance. While pressure is not law per se, it can be an object of law, and often appears as the product of careful EU constitutional design by the Masters of the Treaties. However, requirements backed by pressure have a different structure than requirements backed by EU legal obligations, which comes with important implications concerning the adequacy of the constitutional safeguards provided for by EU law to constrain its uses, notably by EU institutions on Member States.