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The achievement of an area of freedom, security and justice through the EU external relations

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The international key to safety

Through stronger ties with other countries and intensive external relations, the EU can raise the levels of freedom, security and justice for its citizens.

Climate Change and Environment

One of the EU's most ambitious political aims is to enhance these qualities by making use of its powers to enter into international agreements with foreign countries. Challenges such as illegal immigration and security threats such as terrorist attacks or organised crime require the EU to contribute as an international actor. However, studies show that EU internal mechanisms are not always adequate to combat these phenomena effectively and foster the desired level of security. This is why the EU has started to make use of a wide range of international agreements, affecting cross-pillar policies whose adoption involves various actors such as the European Commission and Council, and Europol, the European Police Office. Under a Marie Curie scholarship, 'The achievement of an area of freedom, security and justice through the EU external relations' (RELEX-JHA) project partners worked on identifying legal problems that European Institutions may face in concluding these agreements. It explored the extent to which international agreements are necessary and effective in building an area of freedom, security and justice. The project then probed whether the EU is competent to enter into these agreements and whether Member States are competent to conclude international agreements on internal security and external borders. RELEX-JHA also looked at how coherent these projects are and examined whether they create challenges in accountability, particularly with respect to Europol agreements. The most important result of the project has been the publication of a book, The external dimension of the area of freedom, security and justice: challenges and opportunities. It contains a collection of essays presented by speakers at an international conference held in May 2009. The publication also includes a study on 'The role of the EU institutions and the range of legal instruments' that the project undertook. Other papers on subjects such as security measures and challenging counter-terrorism measures through the courts were also published in parallel. These are relatively unexplored topics that hold much importance for security and safety measures within the EU. The resulting book and articles can be very useful for policymakers in facing today's threats and in preparing more effective policies. When coupled with more international cooperation and agreements, RELEX-JHA's results could help add another level of security to existing measures.

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Climate Change and Environment

7 November 2022