Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 June 2012
One of the most noteworthy institutional changes of the Lisbon Treaty concerns the new powers of the European Parliament. Although it remains to be seen how these changes will play out in practice, it can certainly be argued that the legal and political effect of the Lisbon Treaty has nowhere been more significant than in the area of justice and home affairs, and in particular in the sensitive areas of immigration and asylum policy. It was at the Tampere meeting in 1999 that the Council of the European Union (also ‘the Council’ in the following) formally committed EU Member States to developing a common policy on migration and asylum.
While the Tampere programme set out a broad agenda for EU cooperation, progress on common legislation in the areas of migration and asylum has been slow to materialise. This chapter discusses how the Lisbon Treaty has affected the legal and political dynamics shaping policy making in these areas. Since Lisbon, the European Parliament is a co-legislator which has triggered renewed debate and put migration and asylum squarely back on the agenda. But whereas the institutional changes are undoubtedly providing new momentum towards greater EU cooperation, the complex national and EU politics of migration and asylum remain major obstacles to progress on common EU policies.