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The EU Internal Security Strategy, the EU Policy Cycle and the Role of (AFSJ) Agencies

Promise, Perils and Pre-requisites

Requested and funded by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, the briefing note prepared by ACELG researchers Madalina Busuioc and Deirdre Curtin, reflected on the EU policy cycle, identified some key elements of ongoing developments and proposed solutions for potential pitfalls. The briefing note was published in 2011.

The EU policy cycle aims to “to tackle the most important criminal threats in a coherent and methodological manner”, through the establishment of a policy cycle for organised and serious international crime. The EU policy cycle is the first attempt to implement the Internal Security Strategy developed by the Council of the European Union in 2010.

The briefing note prepared for the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament analyses and reflects on the EU policy cycle using semi-structured interviews with key respondents from the agencies that play a central role in the implementation of the EU policy cycle, legal and policy documents and relevant academic literature. Special focus is placed on the role of European agencies and ongoing initiatives for inter-agency cooperation.

It is concluded that the EU policy cycle displays significant promise. Its clear added value stems from its attempt at institutionalising and streamlining the policy process with regard to serious and organised crime and at introducing clarity, coherence and continuity in the system. What is more, the policy cycle provides an opportunity for and is geared towards integration between the different structures i.e. generating synergies among law enforcement and border management authorities as well as engendering (further) cooperation between European agencies.

The briefing note also lays out a number of recommendations on how the identified potentially problematic issues can be addressed. These issues deserve further institutional consideration and should be taken up and elaborated in follow-up measures and documents to strengthen the policy cycle and the internal security strategy in order for it to be to live up to its promise.

The research project identifies that the set-up of a legal framework for the regular monitoring of their implementation by the EP and the Council jointly; the progressive broadening of the scope of the EU policy cycle to better reflect the comprehensive approach to internal security foreseen by the Stockholm programme, the Internal Security Strategy and the Commission’s Communication; the strengthening of the “justice” dimension as well as the development of the Internal Security Fund initiative could be important elements and windows of opportunity respectively, to take this development further.

This report was commissioned by the European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies.