The EU-Turkey statement: legal nature and compatibility with EU institutional law

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The EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016 (Statement) is by now a famous but controversial instrument that aims to tackle the influx of migrants and asylum seekers into the EU. The Statement is indeed an enigmatic instrument, which cannot be effortlessly typified according to the categories of EU and international law. This chapter analyses the legal nature of the Statement and shows that there are good reasons to argue that this instrument is binding, but there are also valid arguments that support the opposite thesis. It seems clear, in any event, that the Statement has to be attributed to the EU – and not to the Member States, as the EU General Court found in the joined cases NF, NG, and NM. The rule of law is in any case difficult to uphold in face of the ambiguities of the Statement. Any judicial action against it is likely to encounter substantive or procedural difficulties, caused by the lacunae of EU Treaties regarding the procedures for the adoption of soft law instruments, the rules on locus standi of individuals and the admissibility of preliminary references.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConstitutionalising the external dimensions of EU migration policies in times of crisis
EditorsSergio Carrera, Juan Santos Vara, Tineke Strik
Place of PublicationCheltenham/Northampton
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)978-17-8897-247-5
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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