The EU-Turkey Statement or the ‘Refugee Deal’: The Extra-Legal Deal of Extraordinary Times?
Forthcoming in: Dina Siegel and Veronika Nagy (eds.), The Migration Crisis?: Criminalization, Security and Survival (Eleven Publishing)
18 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2017 Last revised: 22 Nov 2018
Date Written: December 1, 2017
This contribution focuses on the EU-Turkey ‘refugee deal’ as the EU’s most salient as well as controversial response to the influx of asylum seekers in 2015. It examines issues raised by the legal form of the deal (a Statement) as well as the process that led to its conclusion, which was in total disregard of applicable Treaty procedure.
The legal aspects of the deal attracted scholarly attention once the General Court of the EU delivered its orders in three cases brought by asylum seekers who sought to challenge the deal. The General Court dismissed these cases, ruling it had no jurisdiction to review the deal, as it was not an act of an EU institution, but that of Member States. This contribution challenges that finding and argues with reference to the EU Treaties and the case law of the Court of Justice of the EU on EU external relations that Member States had no competence to act on their own on the subject matter of readmission of TCNs to Turkey. It was the Union that had exclusive competence on the matter, as it had already acted by signing a Readmission Agreement with Turkey (Art. 79(3) TFEU). The Union had exclusive competence also by virtue of the fact that the commitments agreed upon in the deal affected existing internal rules and changed their scope (Art. 3(2) TFEU). It is argued that by acting outside the appropriate procedure laid down in the Treaties (Art. 218(6)(a)(v) TFEU), both Member States and Union institutions breached the principle of sincere cooperation under Art. 4(3) and Art. 13(2) TEU, and in more general, the rule of law (Art. 2 TEU).
Keywords: Migration, CEAS, EU Asylum and Migration Policy, EU-Turkey Deal, Migration Crisis, Refugee Crisis, EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement
JEL Classification: K39, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation