The Evolution of Frontex Governance: Shifting from Soft to Hard Law?

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Series Details Vol.11, No.3 (2015)
Publication Date July 2015
ISSN 1815-347X
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This article investigates the evolution of the governance of the Frontex agency by focusing on joint operations, the area of activity that has posed the greatest challenges in finding an appropriate distribution of tasks and responsibilities between the member states and the agency. Adopting insights from rational choice institutionalism, this article argues that successive reforms of the agency have led to the inclusion of hard law elements in an attempt to address the main shortcomings of a governance framework that was initially predominantly based on soft law.

However, sovereignty issues and institutional constraints that characterise this area of cooperation have induced member states to retain some of the central features of the previous soft law architecture. As a consequence, the reform process has resulted in the adoption of a ‘hybrid’ system of governance that mixes hard and soft elements in an attempt to reconcile competing policy priorities.

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