The EU-Turkey Statement or the ‘Refugee Deal’: The Extra-Legal Deal of Extraordinary Times?

Published 21 December 2017

The process leading to the EU-Turkey ‘refugee deal’ was in total disregard of the applicable Treaty procedure, and as such sidestepped the European Parliament, says Asser researcher Narin Idriz. The legal aspects of the EU-Turkey deal attracted fresh scholarly attention when the General Court of the EU dismissed three cases brought by asylum seekers who sought to challenge the deal. The General Court ruled it had no jurisdiction to review the deal, as it was not an act of an EU institution, but that of Member States. In her research paper, Idriz criticizes the Court’s ruling and argues, with reference to the EU Treaties and case law of the Court of Justice on EU external relations, that Member States were pre-empted from acting on their own on the subject matter of re-admission of Third Country Nationals to Turkey, as the EU had already exercised its competence in the field by signing a Readmission Agreement with Turkey in 2013.

Internal Rules, Sincere Cooperation and the Rule of Law
According to Idriz, the European Union could have had exclusive competence also by virtue of the fact that the commitments agreed upon in the deal affected existing internal rules and changed their scope. Idriz claims that by acting outside the appropriate procedure laid down in the Treaties, both Member States and the European Union institutions breached the principle of sincere cooperation and in more general, the rule of law.

Read the whole research paper.