University of Sussex
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Shifting sands and changing minds: the role of the European Parliament in the area of freedom, security and justice

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posted on 2023-06-07, 16:18 authored by Ariadna Ripoll-Servent
After the extension of the European Parliament’s (EP) decision-making powers introduced by the Treaties of Amsterdam and Lisbon, it was assumed that the EP would increase the democratic credentials of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and, given the EP’s traditional promotion of civil liberties and human rights, that it would also tip the balance towards a more rights-based approach. Six years on, these expectations have not been fulfilled. The objective of this study is to evaluate why the EP, now a co-legislator, has been unable (or unwilling) to maintain its past policy preferences. In order to understand this gap between expectations and actions, the study looks at three case studies (the ‘Data retention’ directive, the ‘Returns’ directive and the SWIFT Agreement) and compares the impact that the introduction of more powers for the EP has had on these different episodes. In order to maximise the number of possible explanations, the study uses rational-choice and constructivist institutionalist approaches to identify the reasons behind the change in the policy preferences of the EP. In this sense, it aims to uncover the levels and direction of change as well as the main conditions and drivers that led to the abandonment of its previous policy positions.


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  • eng


University of Sussex

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