The Unintentional Development of the EU’s Security Governance beyond Borders

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Series Details Vol.17, Special Issue, April 2012, p87-107
Publication Date April 2012
ISSN 1384-6299
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New technologies for border control and surveillance are increasingly being applied in the field of justice and home affairs. The European Union (EU) has been particularly successful in promoting its approaches internationally despite the potentially negative impact of these technologies on civil liberties and fundamental freedoms.

This article investigates why, despite a clear divergence between the EU's declarations and practice in balancing fundamental freedoms and security, the EU has faced little external criticism regarding its extraterritorial instruments. In the case of EU-US relations, the EU managed to optimize the outcome of the Passenger Name Record (PNR) negotiations by using the security-oriented US legislation as a pretext for advancing its own security-dominated agenda.

At the same time, the EU managed to avoid criticism from the United States and international civil society regarding its flagship projects like the 'border package' or the creation of large-scale IT systems for collecting and processing personal information. In its relations with candidate countries, the EU has managed to escape criticism due to several factors: weak data protection institutions in those countries, different priorities set by the accession process, and rather weak civil society organizations (CSOs) dependent on EU funding. In the absence of external actors challenging the EU approach, recourse to the international judicial bodies is the last resort for taking action in this regard.

This article argues that inconsistency and contradiction between the EU's various policy approaches has contributed to the unintentional development of an external governance model that maximizes the EU's position internationally.

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