Book review: Fundamental Rights and Mutual Trust in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: A Role for Proportionality?

Date01 December 2020
Published date01 December 2020
Subject MatterBook reviews
Book reviews
Fundamental Rights and Mutual Trust in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice: A Role for Proportionality?,
Ermioni Xanthopoulou (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2020), ISBN 9781509922260, 248 pp., £70
Reviewed by: C´
eline C. Cocq, Unive rsit´
e libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; Universit´
eve, Switzerland
DOI: 10.1177/2032284420957770
In recent years, the European Union (EU) has had to face a number of security challenges ranging from
‘ordinary’ serious and organised crime to terrorist attacks on its soil, coupled with a record number of
migrants and refugees. Ensuring EU internal security while facing these risks has been the driving force
behind the development of speedy cross-border cooperation in EU criminal justice. Similarly, the
objective of migration control has had a strong influence on the development of the Common European
Asylum System (CEAS). The EU has thus equipped itself with a set of principles meant to pave the way
for more efficient cross-border cooperation while also respecting fundamental rights. Nonetheless, the
emphasis of the EU on security and migration control – often at the detriment of fundamental rights’
protection – constitutes the political and legal yardstick of the evolution of the Area of Freedom Security
and Justice (AFSJ) and, subsequently, one of the main reasons that motivated the author’s research.
Against this b ackground, Ermioni Xanth opoulou’s book discusses a nd connects together the p rin-
ciplesof mutual trust and mutualrecognition, the protectionof fundamentalrights and the impact of the
principle ofproportionality on the protection of fundamentalrights in the AFSJ. Thesekey principles
are meant to tietogether cross-border cooperation and the protection of fundamentalrights in order to
fulfilthe EU’s objectives, namelyensuring free movementof persons, a commonmigration policy fair
to third country-nationals and a high level of security (Article 67 Treaty on the Functioning of the
EuropeanUnion). Due to her expertisein the AFSJ and particularlyin EU criminal law, migrationand
asylum law and human rights, Xanthopoulou contributes to the literature in this field, especially by
correcting the lack of attention paid to proportionality-based reasoning in AFSJ case law.
The book starts with the premise that the relevant national and regional authorities are called
upon to balance an efficient, speedy and automatic cooperation with the protection of fundamental
rights. Xanthopoulou elaborates on the various parameters used in balancing these two essential
aspects of the AFSJ, including the seriousness of the violation, the standard of proof, the degree of
its remediability, the gravity of the offence and the nature and content of the right.
Going through the principles at stake in facilitating cross-border cooperation
After a thorough theoretical analysis of the principles of mutual recognition and mutual trust, the
author unfolds their role and place in the case law developed by the Court of Justice of the EU
(CJEU) in AFSJ matters. In so doing, this book clarifies the role that these principles play when the
New Journal of European Criminal Law
2020, Vol. 11(4) 524–529
ªThe Author(s) 2020
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