Article 4(2) TEU as a Protection of the Institutional Diversity of the Member States

B. De Witte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The main argument of this article is that the meaning of the national identity clause of Article 4 (2) TEU should be limited to what its text actually states, namely to a guarantee for the constitutional structures of the European Union (EU) Member States. The article rejects the broader meaning often given to this Treaty provision, namely that it offers a kind of generic protection for national diversity and national constitutional values. Such a broader meaning is not needed, since primary EU law contains many other provisions that protect national diversity, all of which have a specific meaning and role in the EU legal order. Giving Article 4(2) the broader meaning is harmful, as it opens the door to abusive and superficial uses of identity as a justification for non-compliance with EU law obligations from the side of the Member States.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-570
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Public Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021


  • national constitutions
  • institutional diversity
  • cultural diversity
  • regional autonomy
  • judicial organization
  • national languages

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