Michigan Paper Series 2007 - Hatzopoulos_AFSJ

With or without you...judging politically in the field of Area of Freedom, Security and Justice

Description: The study of the European Court of Justice's (ECJ) case law regarding the Area of Freedom Security and Justice (AFSJ) is in many ways fascinating. It relates to a new field of EU competence, touches upon all the fundamental issues of European integration and is intertwined with the protection of fundamental rights. From a more technical perspective, it is impregnated with all the institutional drawbacks resulting from the EU's three-pillar structure, as well as with the substantial shortfalls related to the lack of a clear political will for strong harmonisation. Against this background, the ECJ follows a binary logic, which may also appear somehow controversial. On the one hand it shows high respect for specific policy choices enshrined by the member states into pieces of secondary legislation. On the other hand, and more importantly, the ECJ energetically pushes forward its own vision of the AFSJ. This vision is one which is liberated from the strict three-pillar logic of the EU Treaty, where fundamental rights and the rule of law rank high in the agenda.

Publication Date: 2007