In the wake of recent blips in the Euro- and Schengen zones, northern member states want to see new forms of conditionality and sanction introduced to EU law. It has unleashed a chorus of disapproval. Such policies would, say critics, not only reinforce the unfairness inherent in many EU rules. They would also have less to do with deterrence than with straightforward retribution: northerners quite simply want to punish other members for what they see as moral failings. But is this so bad? Punitive policies may be messy and unfair, but they are an overdue response to a political system that is oblique, technocratic and conflict-shy. Dabbling in mutual punishment is not a perversion of the European dream but a perfectly healthy phase in the EU’s development.