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8.1.  The EU area of freedom, security and justice

  1. Judicial cooperation in civil matters in the EU
  2. Police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters in the EU
  3. Common treatment of nationals of third countries in the EU
  4. The fight against terrorism inside the European Union

The common values underlining the objective of an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) are long-standing principles of the modern democracies of the European Union. The declared objectives of the Union in this field are: (1) to constitute an area of freedom, security and justice with respect for fundamental rights with respect for fundamental rights and the different legal systems and traditions of the Member States; (2) to ensure the absence of internal border controls for persons and shall frame a common policy on asylum, immigration and external border control, based on solidarity between Member States; (3) to ensure a high level of security through measures to prevent and combat crime, racism and xenophobia, and through measures for coordination and cooperation between police and judicial authorities and other competent authorities, as well as through the mutual recognition of judgments in criminal matters and, if necessary, through the approximation of criminal laws; and (4) to facilitate access to justice, in particular through the principle of mutual recognition of judicial and extrajudicial decisions in civil matters (Article 67 TFEU, ex Article 61 TEC and ex Article 29 TEU).

The step-by-step approach of European integration [see section 1.1.2] is quite evident in the fields of freedom, security and justice, originally named field of justice and home affairs (JHA). Whereas questions relating to the free movement of persons, asylum, immigration, the crossing of external borders and judicial cooperation depended on intergovernmental cooperation in the Maastricht version of the TEU [see section 2.2], the Amsterdam revision of the TEU integrated them into the Community framework [see section 2.3]. Following the steps of the draft Constitutional Treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon extends the community method to virtually all aspects of the field of justice and home affairs, thus abolishing the so-called third pillar of the Union [see section 3.1]. It declares that shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies, inter alia, in the area of freedom, security and justice (Article 4 TFEU). As far as the procedures are concerned, the Commission shall have sole right of legislative initiative, except in the field of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, where a quarter of the Member States may submit a proposal (Article 76 TFEU). The Court of Justice shall have competence in all freedom, security and justice acts adopted with the ordinary legislative procedure. National parliaments participate, within the framework of the area of freedom, security and justice, in the evaluation mechanisms for the implementation of the Union policies in that area and in the political monitoring of Europol and the evaluation of Eurojust's activities (Article 12 TEU).

The European Council defines the strategic guidelines for legislative and operational planning within the area of freedom, security and justice (Article 68 TFEU). In fact, building on the achievements of the Tampere programme [see section 8.1.1], the Stockholm Programme on ''an open and secure Europe serving and protecting citizens'' defines strategic guidelines for legislative and operational planning within the area of freedom, security and justice in accordance with Article 68 TFEU. The Council adopts measures to ensure administrative cooperation between the relevant departments of the Member States in the area of freedom, security and justice, as well as between those departments and the Commission (Article 74 TFEU, ex Article 66 TEC). A standing committee within the Council ensures that operational cooperation on internal security is promoted and strengthened within the Union, by facilitating coordination of the action of Member States' competent authorities (Article 71 TFEU, Article 36 TEU) [Decision 2010/131]. The European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (Frontex), established in Warsaw, strives to improve the integrated management of the external borders of the Member States of the European Union [Regulation 2007/2004 and Decision 2005/358].

The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) provides national authorities and Frontex with the infrastructure and tools needed to improve their situational awareness and reaction capability at the external borders of the Member States of the Union for the purposes, on the one hand, of detecting, preventing and combating illegal immigration and cross-border crime, and on the other, contributing to ensuring the protection and saving the lives of migrants [Regulation 1051/2013].

The general objective of the 'Justice Programme' for the period 2014 to 2020 is to contribute to the further development of a European area of justice based on mutual recognition and mutual trust, in particular by promoting judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters [Regulation 1382/2013]. The specific objectives of the programme are: (a) to facilitate and support judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters; (b) to support and promote judicial training, including language training on legal terminology, with a view to fostering a common legal and judicial culture, (c) to facilitate effective access to justice for all, including to promote and support the rights of victims of crime, while respecting the rights of the defence; and (d) to support initiatives in the field of drugs policy as regards judicial cooperation and crime prevention aspects closely linked to the general objective of the Programme, in so far as they are not covered by the Internal security fund for financial support for police cooperation, preventing and combating crime, and crisis management or by the Health for Growth Programme.

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Your roadmap in the maze of the European Union.

Based on the book of Nicholas Moussis:
Access to European Union law, economics, policies
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Translated into 14 languages


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