The area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) is a collection of home affairs and justice policies designed to ensure security, rights and free movement within the European Union (EU). Areas covered include the harmonisation of private international law, extradition arrangements between member states, policies on internal and external border controls, common travel visa, immigration and asylum policies and police and judicial cooperation.
As internal borders have been removed within the EU, cross-border police cooperation has had to increase to counter cross-border crime. Some notable projects related to the area are the European Arrest Warrant, the Schengen Area and Frontex patrols.
The area comes under the purview of the European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship and the European Commissioner for Home Affairs. They deal with the following matters: EU citizenship; combating discrimination, drugs, organised crime, terrorism, human trafficking; free movement of people, asylum and immigration; judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters; police and customs cooperation; and these matters in the acceding countries.
The relevant European Commission departments are the DG for Justice and the DG Home Affairs. However, there are also Eurojust and Europol, which develop judicial and police cooperation respectively. Related to the latter there is also the European Police College, the European Police Chiefs Task Force and Frontex.
Over the years, the EU has developed a wide competence in the area of justice and home affairs. To this end, agencies have been established that co-ordinate associated actions: Europol for co-operation of police forces, Eurojust for co-operation between prosecutors, and Frontex for co-operation between border control authorities. The EU also operates the Schengen Information System which provides a common database for police and immigration authorities throughout the borderless Schengen Area.
Furthermore, the Union has legislated in areas such as extradition (such as the European Arrest Warrant), family law, asylum law, and criminal justice. Prohibitions against sexual and nationality discrimination have a long standing in the treaties. In more recent years, these have been supplemented by powers to legislate against discrimination based on race, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation. By virtue of these powers, the EU has enacted legislation on sexual discrimination in the work-place, age discrimination, and racial discrimination.
In 2006, a toxic waste spill off the coast of Côte d'Ivoire, from a European ship, prompted the Commission to look into legislation against toxic waste. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas stated that "Such highly toxic waste should never have left the European Union". With countries such as Spain not even having a law against shipping toxic waste Franco Frattini, the Justice, Freedom and Security Commissioner, proposed with Dimas to create criminal sentences for "ecological crimes". His right to do this was contested in 2005 at the Court of Justice resulting in a victory for the Commission. That ruling set a precedent that the Commission, on a supranational basis, may legislate in criminal law. So far though, the only other use has been the intellectual property rights directive. Motions were tabled in the European Parliament against that legislation on the basis that criminal law should not be an EU competence, but were rejected at vote. However, in October 2007 the Court of Justice ruled the Commission could not propose what the criminal sanctions could be, only that there must be some.
The European Commission has listed seven offences that become European crimes. The seven crimes announced by the Commission are counterfeiting euro notes and coins; credit card and cheque fraud; money laundering; people-trafficking; computer hacking and virus attacks; corruption in the private sector; and marine pollution. The possible future EU crimes are racial discrimination and incitement to racial hatred; organ trade; and corruption in awarding public contracts. It will also set out the level of penalty, such as length of prison sentence, that would apply to each crime.
The first steps in security and justice cooperation within the EU began in 1975 when the TREVI group was created, composed of member states' justice and home affairs ministers. The first real cooperation was the signing of the Schengen Implementing Convention in 1990 which opened up the EU's internal borders and established the Schengen Area. In parallel the Dublin Regulation furthered police cooperation.
Cooperation on policies such as immigration and police cooperation was formally introduced in the Maastricht Treaty which established Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) as one of the EU's 'three pillars'. The Justice and Home Affairs pillar was organised on an intergovernmental basis with little involvement of the EU supranational institutions such as the European Commission and the European Parliament. Under this pillar the EU created the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in 1993 and Europol in 1995. In 1997 the EU adopted an action plan against organised crime and established the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). In 1998 the European Judicial Network in criminal matters (EJN) was established.
The idea of an area of freedom, security and justice was introduced in May 1999, in the Treaty of Amsterdam, which stated that the EU must "maintain and develop the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice, in which the free movement of persons is assured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime." The first work programme putting this provision into effect was agreed at Tampere, Finland in October 1999. Subsequently, the Hague programme, agreed in November 2004, set further objectives to be achieved between 2005 and 2010.
The Treaty of Amsterdam also transferred the areas of asylum, immigration and judicial cooperation in civil matters from the JHA to the European Community pillar, the remainder being renamed Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC).
During this time further advancements were made. In 2000 the European Police College was created along with numerous conventions and agreements. The Treaty of Nice enshrined Eurojust in the EU treaties and in 2001 and 2002 Eurojust, Eurodac, the European Judicial Network in Civil and Commercial Matters (EJNCC) and European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) were established. In 2004 the EU appointed an anti-terrorism coordinator in response to the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the European Arrest Warrant (agreed in 2002) entered into force.
The 2009 Treaty of Lisbon abolished the pillar structure, reuniting the areas separated at Amsterdam. The European Parliament and Court of Justice gained a say over the whole area while the Council changed to majority voting for the remaining PJCC matters. The Charter of Fundamental Rights also gained legal force and Europol was brought within the EU's legal framework. As the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, the European Council adopted the Stockholm Programme to provide EU action on developing the area over the following five years.
There has been criticism that the EU's activities have been too focused on security and not on justice. For example, the EU created the European Arrest Warrant but no common rights for defendants arrested under it. With the strengthened powers under Lisbon, the second Barroso Commission created a dedicated commissioner for justice (previously combined with security under one portfolio) who is obliging member states to provide reports on their implementation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Furthermore, the Commission is putting forward proposals for common rights for defendants (such as interpretation), minimum standards for prison conditions and ensure that victims of crime are taken care of properly wherever they are in the EU. This is intended to create a common judicial area where each system can be sure of trusting each other.
Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom all have various opt-outs from the border control, asylum policy, police and judicial cooperation provisions that are part of the area of freedom, security and justice. While Ireland and the United Kingdom have opt-ins that allow them to participate in legislation on a case-by-case basis, Denmark is fully outside the area of freedom, security and justice.
The United Kingdom applied to participate in several areas of the Schengen acquis, including the police and judicial cooperation provisions, in March 1999. Their request was approved by a Council Decision in 2000 and fully implemented by a Decision of the Council of the EU with effect from 1 January 2005.
While Ireland also applied to participate in the police and judicial cooperation provisions of the Schengen acquis in June 2000, and were approved by a Council Decision in 2002, this has not been implemented.
The European Union's growing role in coordinating internal security and safety policies is only partly captured by looking at policymaking within the area of freedom, security and justice. Across the EU's other (former) pillars, initiatives related to food security, health safety, infrastructure protection, counter-terrorism and energy security can be found. New perspectives and concepts have been introduced to examine the EU's wider internal security role for the EU, such as the EU's "protection policy space" or internal "security governance". Furthermore, EU cooperation not covered by a limited lens of the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice—namely EU cooperation during urgent emergencies and complex crises—has received a growing amount of attention.
There have been proposals by the European Commission to upgrade the border agency Frontex, which is responsible for overseeing the security of the EU's external borders. This new body, called the European Border and Coastguard Agency, would involve having a pool of armed guards, drawn from different EU member states, that can be dispatched to EU countries at three days' notice. Although the European Border and Coastguard Agency has been called an "EU Navy", it would function more in a supervisory capacity. The border agencies of host countries would still retain day-to-day control, and the personnel from the new agency would be required to submit to the direction of the country where they are deployed. However, interventions could potentially happen against the wishes of a host country. They include instances such as "disproportionate migratory pressure" occurring on a country's border. For this intervention to happen, the new border agency would have to gain consent from the European Commission. Under these proposals, border guards would be allowed to carry guns. The agency would also be able to acquire its own supply of patrol ships and helicopters.
Events from the year 1998 in the European Union.Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations 1980
The Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations 1980, or the "Rome Convention", is a measure in private international law or conflict of laws which creates a common choice of law system in contracts within the European Union. The convention determines which law should be used, but does not harmonise the substance (the actual law). It was signed in Rome, Italy on 19 June 1980 and entered into force in 1991.
It has now been replaced by the Rome I Regulation (593/2008) except for in Denmark, which has an opt-out from implementing regulations under the area of freedom, security and justice, and the Overseas countries and territories of European Union member states. In that respect, the convention is applicable in Aruba, the Caribbean Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten (Kingdom of the Netherlands), Faroer (Denmark), Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Barthélemy, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna and New Caledonia (France).Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers
DG Justice, Freedom and Security was split in 2010. For Home Affairs (security), see Directorate-General for Home Affairs (European Commission).The Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (DG JUST) is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The role of the body is to ensure that the whole European Union (EU) is an area of freedom, security and justice. The specific tasks and responsibilities of the DG are laid down by the Treaty of Rome (see Part Two, Articles 17-22; Part Three, Title III, Articles 39-47), the Treaty of Amsterdam which came into force on 1 May 1999 and the conclusions of the European Council meeting in Tampere (Finland) in October 1999.
The relevant Commissioner is the European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality (formerly European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship).Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
The Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) is a Directorate-General of the European Commission. The role of the body is to ensure the EU's security, to build a common EU migration and asylum policy, and to promote dialogue and cooperation with non-EU countries. Thereby, it contributes to the Area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ).Eu-Lisa
The European Union Agency for the Operational Management of Large-Scale IT Systems in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (eu-LISA) is an agency of the European Union that was founded in 2012 to ensure the uninterrupted operation of large-scale IT systems within the area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ).
eu-LISA is in Tallinn, Estonia, whilst its operational centre is in Strasbourg. It is directed by Krum Garkov.Eurojust
Eurojust is an agency of the European Union (EU) dealing with judicial co-operation in criminal matters among agencies of the member states. It is seated in The Hague, Netherlands. Established in 2002, it was created to improve handling of serious cross-border and organised crime by stimulating investigative and prosecutorial co-ordination.
Eurojust is composed of a college formed of 28 national members—experienced judges, prosecutors, or police officers of equivalent competence from each EU member state. The terms and duties of the members are defined by the state that appoints them. Eurojust also co-operates with third states and other EU bodies such as the European Judicial Network, Europol and the OLAF.European Commissioner for Justice and Consumers
The Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality is a post in the European Commission. The current commissioner is Věra Jourová.Europol
The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known under the name Europol, formerly the European Police Office and Europol Drugs Unit, is the law enforcement agency of the European Union (EU) formed in 1998 to handle criminal intelligence and combat serious international organised crime and terrorism through cooperation between competent authorities of EU member states. The Agency has no executive powers, and its officials are not entitled to arrest suspects or act without prior approval from competent authorities in the member states. Seated in The Hague, South Holland, it comprised 1,065 staff in 2016.FSJ
FSJ may refer to:
Area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ)
Football Association of Yugoslavia (Serbian: Fudbalski Savez Jugoslavije)
Foreign Service Journal
Full Size Jeep
James Fisher & Sons, a British marine engineering firm
Voluntary social year (German: Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr)Insolvency Regulation
The Insolvency Regulation is an EU Regulation concerning the rules of jurisdiction for opening insolvency proceedings in the European Union. It determines which member states' courts have jurisdiction.Justice and Home Affairs Council
The Justice and Home Affairs Council (JHA) is one of the configurations of the Council of the European Union and is composed of the justice and home affairs ministers of the 28 European Union member states.Maintenance regulation
The Maintenance Regulation (EC) No 4/2009, formally the Council Regulation (EC) on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations, is a European Union Regulation on conflict of law issues regarding maintenance obligations (e.g. alimony and child maintenance). The regulation governs which courts have jurisdiction and which law it should apply. It further governs the recognition and enforcement of decisions. The regulation amends the Brussels Regulation, which covers jurisdiction in legal disputes of a civil or commercial nature between individuals more broadly.
The content of the regulation is strongly aligned with the Hague Maintenance convention (which the European Union has signed but not yet ratified) and the Hague Maintenance Protocol of 2007.
The member states of the European Union originally conclude a convention amongst themselves on maintenance payments, which was signed on 11 June 1990 but never entered into force as it was not ratified by all EU member states. The substance of this convention was replaced by the regulation, which originally applied directly to all member states except the United Kingdom and Denmark. The UK subsequently accepted the regulation, and was approved to participate by the Commission in June 2009. Denmark has a full opt-out from implementing regulations under the area of freedom, security and justice. However, in 2005 Denmark signed an international agreement with the European Community to apply the provisions of the 2001 Brussels Regulation between the EU and Denmark. Denmark notified the Commission of its acceptance of the amendments to the Brussels Regulation made by the Maintenance regulation in January 2009. As such, it partially applies the maintenance regulation, in so far as it amends the Brussels regulation on jurisdiction.Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification
The Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification (CVM) is a safeguard measure invoked by the European Commission when a new member or acceding state of the European Union has failed to implement commitments undertaken in the context of the accession negotiations in the fields of the Area of freedom, security and justice or internal market policy.Opt-outs in the European Union
In general, the law of the European Union is valid in all of the twenty-eight European Union member states. However, occasionally member states negotiate certain opt-outs from legislation or treaties of the European Union, meaning they do not have to participate in certain policy areas. Currently, four states have such opt-outs: United Kingdom (four opt-outs), Denmark (three opt-outs), Republic of Ireland (two opt-outs) and Poland (one opt-out).
This is distinct from the enhanced cooperation, a measure introduced in the Treaty of Amsterdam, whereby a minimum of nine member states are allowed to co-operate within the structure of the European Union without involving other member states, after the European Commission and a qualified majority have approved the measure. It is further distinct from Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification and permanent acquis suspensions, whose lifting is conditional on meeting certain benchmarks by the affected member states.Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters
Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters (PJCC) was the third of the three pillars of the European Union (EU). It was named Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) before 1999. The pillar existed between 1993 and 2009, when it was absorbed into a consolidated European Union structure and became the area of freedom, security and justice.
The pillar focused on co-operation in law enforcement and combating racism. It was based more around intergovernmental cooperation than the other pillars meaning there was little input from the European Commission, European Parliament and the Court of Justice. It was responsible for policies including the European Arrest Warrant.Rome I Regulation
The Rome I Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 593/2008) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations) is a regulation which governs the choice of law in the European Union. It is based upon and replaces the Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations 1980. The Rome I Regulation can be distinguished from the Brussels Regime which determines which court can hear a given dispute, as opposed to which law it should apply. The regulation applies to all EU member states except Denmark, which has an opt-out from implementing regulations under the area of freedom, security and justice. The Danish government planned to join the regulation if a referendum on 3 December 2015 approved converting its opt-out into an opt-in, but the proposal was rejected. While the United Kingdom originally opted-out of the regulation they subsequently decided to opt-in.Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland
The Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Treaty of Lisbon) Act 2009 (previously bill no. 49 of 2009) is an amendment of the Constitution of Ireland which permitted the state to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon of the European Union. It was approved by referendum on 2 October 2009 (sometimes known as the second Lisbon referendum).
The amendment was approved by the Irish electorate by 67.1% to 32.9%, on a turnout of 59%.
The amendment's enactment followed the failure of a previous attempt which was rejected in the first Lisbon referendum, held in June 2008. The successful referendum in 2009 represented a swing of 20.5% to the "Yes" side, from the result in 2008.Following the referendum, Dáil Éireann (the lower house of parliament) gave its approval to the Treaty on 8 October 2009. The President of Ireland Mary McAleese signed the amendment of the constitution into law on 15 October.
These formalities having been conducted, the state ratified the treaty by depositing the instrument of ratification with the Italian government on 23 October. The Treaty of Lisbon entered into force on 1 December 2009.