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Shifting the Burden: On the Legal Nature of the EU-Turkey Statement

Åberg, Karin LU (2018) JURM02 20181
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Den 18 mars 2016 publicerade Europeiska Rådet en överenskommelse på sin hemsida. Den blev känd som ’EU-Turkiet-avtalet’ och gick ut på att asylsökande skickas tillbaka från de grekiska öarna till Turkiet. I utbyte får Turkiet bl a ekonomisk kompensation och ökade chanser till visafrihet och EU-medlemskap.
Bland allmänheten möttes avtalet av kritik eftersom det överförde ansvaret för asylsökande till Turkiet, ett land med ett nyskapat asylsystem som ofta får kritik för brott mot mänskliga rättigheter. I diskussionerna bland jurister karaktäriserades avtalet istället av dess obestämbarhet. Överenskommelsen hade ingåtts av Europeiska Rådet i strid med fördragen och utan att inhämta Europaparlamentets godkännande. Ifall avtalet skulle vara... (More)
Den 18 mars 2016 publicerade Europeiska Rådet en överenskommelse på sin hemsida. Den blev känd som ’EU-Turkiet-avtalet’ och gick ut på att asylsökande skickas tillbaka från de grekiska öarna till Turkiet. I utbyte får Turkiet bl a ekonomisk kompensation och ökade chanser till visafrihet och EU-medlemskap.
Bland allmänheten möttes avtalet av kritik eftersom det överförde ansvaret för asylsökande till Turkiet, ett land med ett nyskapat asylsystem som ofta får kritik för brott mot mänskliga rättigheter. I diskussionerna bland jurister karaktäriserades avtalet istället av dess obestämbarhet. Överenskommelsen hade ingåtts av Europeiska Rådet i strid med fördragen och utan att inhämta Europaparlamentets godkännande. Ifall avtalet skulle vara bindande under folkrätten skulle det innebära att EU:s primärrätt om internationella avtal inte har respekterats. I februari 2017, när frågan skulle avgöras, fann Tribunalen istället att avtalet inte hade ingåtts av EU, utan av medlemsstaterna. Uttalandet möttes av skarp kritik.
I den här uppsatsen ges en djupgående förklaring av de här problemen genom att undersöka samspelet mellan juridiska och politiska faktorer. Texten tar upp olika argument för och emot ifall avtalet är bindande och ifall det är EU eller medlemsstaterna som är part till avtalet. Därefter undersöks hur avtalets icke-traditionella form gör det enklare för EU att undvika ansvar för dess ingående och konsekvenser. Sedan förklaras varför avtalet ser ut som det gör. Överenskommelsen är en del av en större utveckling, där mer och mer av folkrätten informaliseras, särskilt återvändandeavtal mellan EU och utomeuropeiska stater. Att ingå ett informellt avtal är dessutom särskilt fördelaktigt när problem snabba lösningar, eller när lösningen är kontroversiell. Turkiet har historiskt haft en ostadig relation till Europa och inom EU fanns ett starkt motstånd till samarbete. Dessutom hade EU ett behov av att snabbt presentera en lösning på ’flyktingkrisen’ 2015. Lösningen blev ett svårdefinierat avtal. (Less)
Abstract
On 18 March 2016, the European Council published a press release on their deal with Turkey to readmit asylum seekers from the Greek Islands. It was headed 'EU-Turkey Statement'. In return for accepting the readmitted migrants, Turkey would receive financial compensation and increased possibilities of visa freedom and EU membership.
In the general public, the agreement was criticized for shifting responsibility for asylum seekers from the EU to Turkey, a country with a questionable human rights record and a recently established asylum system. In discussions among lawyers, the agreement has been characterized by its indefinite nature. It had been concluded by the European Council in violation of the treaties and without obtaining the... (More)
On 18 March 2016, the European Council published a press release on their deal with Turkey to readmit asylum seekers from the Greek Islands. It was headed 'EU-Turkey Statement'. In return for accepting the readmitted migrants, Turkey would receive financial compensation and increased possibilities of visa freedom and EU membership.
In the general public, the agreement was criticized for shifting responsibility for asylum seekers from the EU to Turkey, a country with a questionable human rights record and a recently established asylum system. In discussions among lawyers, the agreement has been characterized by its indefinite nature. It had been concluded by the European Council in violation of the treaties and without obtaining the European Parliament's approval. If the agreement were binding under international law, this would mean that the EU's primary law on international agreements had not been respected. When the issue was to be resolved, the General Court found that the agreement had not been concluded by the EU at all, but by the Member States. This finding was met with severe criticism.
This thesis provides an in-depth explanation of these issues by considering the interplay between law and politics. The text addresses various arguments on whether the agreement is binding and whether it is the EU or the Member States that are its parties. Thereafter, it considers how the agreement’s non-traditional form makes it easier for the EU to avoid accountability. It also examines why the agreement looks the way it does. The Statement is part of a larger development, where international law is increasingly informalized, especially readmission agreements between the EU and third countries. Shaping an agreement in an informal manner is advantageous when an issue needs to be resolved quickly or when a cooperation is controversial. Turkey has historically had an instable relationship with Europe, and within the EU there was widespread opposition to cooperating. In addition, the EU had a strong need to quickly present a solution to the 'migrant crisis' in 2015. This solution became an undefinable agreement. (Less)
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author
Åberg, Karin LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20181
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
EU, Turkey, Readmission, Agreement, Statement, Informalization, Crisis
language
English
id
8940982
date added to LUP
2018-06-10 15:30:50
date last changed
2018-06-10 15:30:50
@misc{8940982,
  abstract     = {On 18 March 2016, the European Council published a press release on their deal with Turkey to readmit asylum seekers from the Greek Islands. It was headed 'EU-Turkey Statement'. In return for accepting the readmitted migrants, Turkey would receive financial compensation and increased possibilities of visa freedom and EU membership. 
In the general public, the agreement was criticized for shifting responsibility for asylum seekers from the EU to Turkey, a country with a questionable human rights record and a recently established asylum system. In discussions among lawyers, the agreement has been characterized by its indefinite nature. It had been concluded by the European Council in violation of the treaties and without obtaining the European Parliament's approval. If the agreement were binding under international law, this would mean that the EU's primary law on international agreements had not been respected. When the issue was to be resolved, the General Court found that the agreement had not been concluded by the EU at all, but by the Member States. This finding was met with severe criticism.
This thesis provides an in-depth explanation of these issues by considering the interplay between law and politics. The text addresses various arguments on whether the agreement is binding and whether it is the EU or the Member States that are its parties. Thereafter, it considers how the agreement’s non-traditional form makes it easier for the EU to avoid accountability. It also examines why the agreement looks the way it does. The Statement is part of a larger development, where international law is increasingly informalized, especially readmission agreements between the EU and third countries. Shaping an agreement in an informal manner is advantageous when an issue needs to be resolved quickly or when a cooperation is controversial. Turkey has historically had an instable relationship with Europe, and within the EU there was widespread opposition to cooperating. In addition, the EU had a strong need to quickly present a solution to the 'migrant crisis' in 2015. This solution became an undefinable agreement.},
  author       = {Åberg, Karin},
  keyword      = {EU,Turkey,Readmission,Agreement,Statement,Informalization,Crisis},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Shifting the Burden: On the Legal Nature of the EU-Turkey Statement},
  year         = {2018},
}