7 Sep 2012
Readmission Agreements of EU Member States: A Case for EU Subsidiarity or Dualism?
NCCR Trade Working Paper 2012/ 35 by Marion Panizzon; Forthcoming in 31(4) Refugee Survey Quarterly, 2012.
This paper examines the extent to which the Treaty of Lisbon’s new express European Union (EU) competence over readmissions under Article 79(3), may affirm the Union’s exclusivity over return policy. We first trace the trajectory of Union competences over readmissions from implicit to shared. We then provide a brief overview of EU readmission agreements (EURAs), covering the target countries, as well as their scope and content in relation to human rights guarantees and the third-country nationals clause. Based on a case-study of the French agreements on joint management of immigration flows and partnership development (AJMs) we test if despite a weak human rights record, these agreements are better placed to deal with readmission of third country nationals than those of the EU. We find that the AJMs do not compare to EURAs, notably because of the broader issue linkages they propose and the conditionality between labor market access and readmission they establish. On that basis alone, there cannot be an exclusive Union competence over readmission. However, European Union mobility partnerships (EU MPs), which establish a link of conditionality to EURAs, may strengthen arguments in favor of exclusivity, based on the principles of parallelism and subsidiarity.