On 8-9 October 2020, ACES and the T.M.C. Asser Instituut organised an interdisciplinary online conference ‘Migration deals and their damaging effects’ on the implications of the increasing use of informal (non-binding) instruments in the field of migration.
In the last few years, informal instruments have been replacing binding international agreements in the field of EU asylum and migration policy. Examples are the EU-Turkey deal and the Joint Way Forward with Afghanistan (an informal readmission agreement). While such informal instruments are notorious for depriving people of judicial protection, a similar challenge occurs when international cooperation is shifted to administrative authorities.
In their presentation ‘Effective Judicial Protection in the external dimension of the EU’s migration and asylum policies’, Narin Idriz and Melanie Fink compared these two developments. They discussed the impact of both forms of cooperation as regards their impact on access to justice for individuals by studying two specific examples: The EU-Turkey deal and Frontex’s cooperation with Albania in the framework of a joint operation.
They concluded that the main issues relates to the fact that human rights violations often occur through the combined effect of several measures. Just like Commissioner Věra Jourová noted when presenting the Commission’s first Rule of Law Report on 30 September 2020, ‘deficiencies often merge into an undrinkable cocktail even if the individual ingredients seem to be fine’. Because several measures can do more harm together than each in isolation, we need to look at their combined effect when it comes to holding the actors involved accountable.