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  • Print publication year: 2014
  • Online publication date: May 2018

14 - The external dimension of freedom, security and justice

Summary

Central issues

  • The AFSJ is a relatively new policy area that was mainly designed to facilitate cooperation between the EU Member States. The further development of the AFSJ followed a traditional pattern: as it started to function well internally, it soon required an external dimension and the Union soon found itself concluding international agreements and formulating policies on the wide range of issues covered by the AFSJ. Like many aspects of EU external relations law, the relatively fast coming of age of AFSJ was triggered by a number of external events and developments, including crime, drug-trafficking and terrorist attacks.

  • In all main areas of the AFSJ (immigration, judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, approximation of criminal law, police cooperation and fundamental rights protection) the EU has enacted legislation and concluded international agreements revealing the strong link between internal and external policies. One of the elements that distinguish AFSJ external relations from other areas is that the issues almost always relate to what are perceived as fundamental and sometimes constitutional dimensions or prerogatives of statehood.

  • The AFSJ as an internal, organizational concept

    The AFSJ was primarily created as an internal concept, and therefore its position in EU external relations may not be self-evident. The core Treaty provisions in the TEU and the TFEU underline the inward-focused nature of the AFSJ.

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