Aspects of the area of freedom, security and justice : assessing the progress made, commitment expressed and legitimacy of the implementation processes of European police co-operation and counter-terrorism
One of the most significant features of the Third Pillar, which came into being as part of the Treaty of European Union, is the so-called 'implementation gap' between the expectations and aspirations of the member states in this area and the empirical reality. This regularly features in the standard literature on the Third Pillar, yet there has been little detailed research done to either measure or determine the root causes of such an occurrence. Rather than simply accept that such a 'gap' exists, this thesis attempts to measure the implementation gap in two distinct areas of internal security co-operation. These are two of the most under-researched areas within the Third Pillar, namely the development of the European Police Office (and related elements of police cooperation) and progress in the related area of a European counter-terrorist framework. A model of 'perfect implementation' has been devised utilising tests from three distinct schools of decision-making - foreign policy analysis, the implementation school (which has its own distinct subset of literature) and European decision-making. By applying tests in relation to the establishment of objectives, the question of leadership, the scale of the 'sacrifice' made and a detailed analysis of the legislative output of each area, the thesis measures how close the reality is to the ideal. In terms of the nature of objectives, an examination of the clarity and consistency of such aims will be determined at two levels. The overall 'metapolicy' of the Third Pillar - the creation of 'an area of freedom, security and justice'- is compared to the current enlargement process, in order to determine both the meaning of such a concept and to ascertain where the priorities of the member states actually lie. Certain terms used within the European Union and replicated within the literature, such as describing such areas as 'matters of common interest', will be analysed to determine their meaning and their applicability to the empirical reality. As a result, and complimenting the 'Good Governance' initiative of the European Commission, which aims to determine the appropriate level for each of the competencies of the EU, the legitimacy of the European level of decision-making will be examined in each area. In terms of determining the root causes of the 'implementation gap', the solution most commonly offered - both by practitioners and in the secondary literature - relates to the process of communitarisation, which has already begun for the areas such as immigration and asylum and judicial co-operation on civil matters. Yet, in the case of the two case studies examined in this thesis - European police cooperation and the European counter-terrorist framework - communitarisation is not forthcoming, with little mention made of the post-Amsterdam elements of the Third Pillar in the draft Treaty of Nice. As such, the control factor of the institutional framework of the European Union does not apply as directly in either case study. Both have shared the same institutional structure since the inception of the Third Pillar, a structure that is likely to remain untouched by the process of enlargement. Therefore, there is a need to look beyond the potential panacea of communitarisation for other potential explanations as to why greater progress has been made in one area as opposed to the other.