JUSTICE AND HOME AFFAIRS

The Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) introduced the concept of an EU area of freedom, security and justice to complement the creation of the single market inside which citizens enjoy freedom of movement. It has led to significant collaboration between member states in terms of administrative and judicial practice and to the development of an impressive corpus of civil and criminal law. 

In recent years the salience of integrating the interior affairs policies of the Union has soared. Terrorism and cybercrime are almost always transnational and never resolvable by one member state acting alone. Two and a half million irregular immigrants from the Middle East and Africa have sought safe haven in the Union since 2015. Existing immigration and asylum policies of the EU are broken, the Schengen agreement is suspended and even the principle of freedom of movement is compromised. Europe’s respect for the Geneva conventions on the treatment of refugees is in jeopardy. If ever there were a case for the creation of a federal asylum agency applying uniform procedures that respect international law, we have it now [92].  Equally, Frontex should be upgraded into a properly federal border and coastguard service assisting national forces to control the external frontier of the Union [93]. 

We have already discussed the need in this context, as in other areas, to reinforce the executive role of the Commission and to render the two chambers of the legislature co-equal through the application across the board of either the organic or the ordinary legislative procedure. Without prejudice to our proposal to give the two chambers of the legislature a certain right of initiative, we propose to abolish the Lisbon provision which grants to a quarter of the states the right to make legislative initiatives in the area of freedom, security and justice [94].  This experiment in bypassing the Commission’s right of initiative led nowhere and will not be missed.  

Drawing on lessons from the refugee crisis, when faced by emergency influx of irregular immigrants, the Commission and not the Council should be empowered to adopt provisional measures [95].  As far as the integration of immigrant populations is concerned, and action against crime, we would drop the prohibition on the harmonisation of national laws [96].  A framework law of the Union would set high standards for the treatment of immigrants based on which member states could formulate their national policies. 

In the sensitive field of family law, it may be appropriate to have recourse to the organic law procedure, but we strongly recommend that the veto accorded under the Lisbon treaty to any one national parliament should be dropped [97].  Likewise, we would abolish all the abnormal procedures that currently govern cooperation in criminal justice and police matters [98].  The more flexible operation of the enhanced cooperation provisions, which we propose, will be particularly useful as the Union develops common policies in this sector. 

EU legislation laying down arrangements whereby judges, prosecutors, police, customs and security services can operate in states other than their own should be subject to an organic law [99]. 

The prohibition on the harmonisation of national legislation in the field of civil protection should be lifted, along with the similar restriction in the field of cooperation between public administrations [100].  

[92] Article 78 TFEU. 
[93] Article 77(1)(c) & (2)(d) TFEU.
[94] Article 76 TFEU. 
[95] Article 78(3) TFEU. 
[96] Articles 79(4) and 84 TFEU, respectively.
[97] Article 81(3) TFEU. 
[98] Articles 82(3), 83(3), 86(1) and 87(3) TFEU.
[99] Article 89 TFEU.
[100] Articles 196(2) and 197(2) TFEU, respectively.

 

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