This Chapter examines the implementation dynamics and outputs of informal EU readmission arrangements with selected African countries, using a diachronic frame of pre- and post-2015 European crisis assessment. Readmission arrangements are understood as instruments or tools not formally qualifying as EU Readmission Agreements, which are officially presented as political (non-legally binding) or practical/operational in nature. They constitute extra-EU Treaties modes of transnational law enforcement on the management of migration and expulsion of irregular immigrants. The Chapter argues that their blurred legal nature and lack of transparency makes of them policy ghosts in search of EU normative identity. They also constitute venues – intersecting policy universes – where various political and law enforcement actors seek the right interlocutors to pursue their interests and build alliances on readmission priorities. EU readmission arrangements raise profound legal uncertainty challenges; not only as to whether they create new legal obligations and affect the rights of individuals, but also regarding their relationship with the EU rule of law, democratic accountability and fundamental rights standards enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty.
This article analyses the development paths and practices of three EU Home Affairs agencies: Frontex, Europol and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). Particular attention is given to those tasks and forms of inter-agency cooperation raising fundamental rights sensitivities in the scope of migration controls. The article argues that the specific Home Affairs focus of these agencies and their ways of working, including the use of ‘experimental governance’ strategies, poses particular challenges to individuals on the move, specifically in relation to their right to an effective remedy. These findings are linked to the academic debate on the balance between accountability and autonomy of EU Agencies. Due to their peculiar nature, evidenced by several cross-cutting commonalities potentially impacting on basic rights of individuals, we argue that this balance metaphor is not appropriate for these Agencies; instead higher standards of accountability should apply with closer on-going control over their activities.
The Stockholm Programme and the European Commission’s Action Plan implementing it have positioned the freedom, security and justice of ‘European citizens’ at the heart of the EU’s political agenda for the next five years. Yet, who are the ‘citizens’ about whom the Council and the European Commission are so interested? At first sight it would appear as if only those individuals holding the nationality of a Member State would fall within this category. This paper challenges this assumption, however, and argues that as a consequence of litigation by individuals before EU courts and of the growing importance given to the act of mobility in citizenship and immigration law, the personal scope of the freedoms accorded to European citizenship already covers certain categories of third-country nationals (TCNs). Through an examination of selected landmark rulings of the Court of Justice in Luxembourg, the paper demonstrates how the requirement of being a national of an EU Member State is progressively becoming less important when defining the boundaries of the European citizenry. TCNs already enjoy and benefit from a number of European citizenship-related and citizenship-like freedoms, rights, benefits and general principles, which are subject to protection and scrutiny at the EU level. This development, we argue, is not only an indication of a continuing loss of discretionary power by the nation-state with respect to European citizenship, but may also constitute a clear signal that a new European citizenship of TCNs is in the making in the Union. This citizenship places the freedom to move and non-discrimination on the basis of nationality at the core of its identity.