Volume 9 (2003) / Issue 4
While the Treaty of Amsterdam succeeded in bringing immigration and asylum policy within the Community domain, it could not shake off some of the intergovernmental bad habits of its past. Title IV EC, described as a 'ghetto' in the EC Treaty, sidelines parliamentary involvement in decision-making, allows for the shared initiation of proposals by Member States and the Commission and limits judicial control by the Court of Justice. Moreover, the accommodation of diverse Member State interests through various opt-in/opt-out deals and the participation of non-EC states in the Schengen system have resulted in unprecedented levels of fragmentation and complexity in the field of immigration and asylum. Yet despite these institutional drawbacks it cannot be denied that the issues of immigration and asylum, for one reason or another, are now firmly established high on the Community's political and legislative agenda. Taking these realities - the complex, sensitive and 'en vogue' nature of this policy domain - as a starting point, this paper explores the means by which the Community has sought to develop and implement its immigration and asylum policy. Recent and ongoing debates about European governance provide the backdrop for a discussion of the nature and appropriateness of governance tools and instruments that have emerged in these related fields. While the broad combination of approaches appears eminently sensible at the moment, it is argued that careful attention must be given to how the Community is to accommodate further, inevitable, diversity in the future.
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