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Advanced Introduction to European Union Law

European Union Law

Jacques Ziller

This book explains how member states of the EU confer powers to the Union through the founding treaties and the legal frame applicable to the Union’s institutions, and the rules that apply to their functioning and the legal review of their action. It reviews the main fields of action of the EU – the internal market, area of freedom, security and justice, external action – and how law is shaping them. The interaction between the EU and its member states is also explained.
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The area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ)

Jacques Ziller


The treaties of Rome established free movement for member state nationals in order to exercise their freedoms related to the common market, and a Directive of 25 February 1964 abolished the need for a passport to cross their borders. With the accord of Schengen of 14 June 1985, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands decided to abolish internal border controls and to establish corollary measures – for access of citizens from third countries to their territory – in the fields of visa, immigration and policing, that were implemented by a Convention of 19 June 1990. Other member states gradually joined the so-called “Schengen Area”, with the exception of the UK and Ireland which did not want to participate. Admission to the Schengen Area depends however upon an agreement by the Council, which grants it only if the relevant member state is deemed apt to control its borders in a satisfactory way; this usually takes some time after accession. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland also participate in the Schengen system on the basis of specific agreements with the EU. Denmark participates in the Schengen system on the basis of a special agreement.

With the treaty of Amsterdam, the content of the 1990 Convention and acts adopted on its basis have been introduced in the EC treaty and secondary law. It is therefore improper to talk about “the Schengen treaty” as far as EU member states are concerned: the provisions relating to the abolition of border controls are embedded in the...

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