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Politics in the European Union

Politics in the European Union (5th edn)

Simon Bulmer, Owen Parker, Ian Bache, Stephen George, and Charlotte Burns
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date: 30 March 2023

p. 43123. Freedom, Security, and Justicelocked

p. 43123. Freedom, Security, and Justicelocked

  • Simon Bulmer, Simon BulmerProfessor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Owen Parker, Owen ParkerLecturer in European Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Ian Bache, Ian BacheProfessor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  • Stephen GeorgeStephen GeorgeEmeritus Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield
  •  and Charlotte BurnsCharlotte BurnsProfessor, University of Sheffield


This chapter examines the European Union’s (EU’s) policy activity in the area of freedom, security, and justice (AFSJ). Introduced mainly by the Maastricht Treaty of 1992, the AFSJ was initially given the name Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). The AFSJ was greatly enhanced by the Treaty of Lisbon and has matured over time, despite the controversy surrounding the way in which it strikes at national sovereignty. A key characteristic of JHA, later AFSJ, has been the use of differentiated integration. The chapter first provides a historical background on the AFSJ, focusing on the policy dynamics and JHA structures under the Treaty on European Union (TEU) as well as the reforms of the Treaty of Amsterdam. It then considers the AFSJ’s institutional character and policy content, before examining the refugee crisis. It concludes with an assessment of key explanations and debates relating to the AFSJ.

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