The European Council’s Guidelines for the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice 2020: Subverting the ‘Lisbonisation’ of Justice and Home Affairs?

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Series Details No. 13, 14 July 2014
Publication Date 14/07/2014
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In its Conclusions of 26-27 June 2014, the European Council has adopted the new “Strategic Guidelines for Legislative and Operational Planning for the coming years within the EU’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ)”. These Guidelines reveal a pre-Lisbon Treaty mindset among the EU member states and the Justice and Home Affairs Council. This essay argues that the Guidelines are mainly driven by the interests and agendas of national Ministries of Interior and Justice and are only “strategic” to the extent that they aim at first, re-injecting ‘intergovernmentalism’ or bringing back the old EU Third Pillar ways of working to the new EU institutional setting of the AFSJ and second, at sidelining the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and rule of law in the AFSJ. The paper argues that the European Council Guidelines seek to prevent the advances in Justice and Home Affairs cooperation as envisaged in the Treaty of Lisbon, particularly its emphasis on supranational democratic, legal and judicial accountability. As a consequence of this move to ‘de-Lisbonise’ JHA cooperation, fundamental rights and rule of law-related initiatives will be neglected and the interest of the individual will be displaced from the centre of gravity in the coming AFSJ 2020 policy agenda.

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