Against the background of recent developments in Hungary, the article discusses the question whether the European Union ought to play a role in protecting liberal democracy in Member States. First, it is argued that the EU has the authority to do so, both in a broad normative sense and in a narrower legal sense (though the latter is more likely to be disputed). The article then asks whether the EU has the capacity to establish a supranational militant democracy; here it is argued that at the moment both appropriate legal instruments and plausible political strategies are missing. To remedy this situation, the article proposes a new democracy watchdog, analogous to, but more powerful than, the Venice Commission. Finally, it is asked whether EU interventions would provoke a nationalist backlash. There is insufficient evidence to decide this question, but the danger of such a backlash probably tend to be overestimated.
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