Scrutinising the EU-Turkey refugee deal

A recent CEPS paper investigates the multi-level consequences of the European institutions’ attempt to escape legal responsibility for their highest-profile responses to the refugee crisis. By claiming that the EU-Turkey deal is merely the result of an international summit between the EU heads of state or government and their Turkish counterparts, the European Council, alongside the Council and the Commission, managed to avoid being held accountable for the legal implications of the large-scale mechanism established for returning asylum-seekers from Greece to increasingly unsafe conditions in Turkey. But as the authors discover, the ramifications of the EU institutions’ decision to decline authorship of the EU-Turkey deal go even further, as it renders inapplicable the democratic and judicial ‘checks and balances’ that in a post-Lisbon Treaty landscape should apply to EU international treaty-making in sensitive fields such as borders, asylum and migration.

Research for this Policy Insight was carried out by researchers in the CEPS Justice and Home Affairs unit in the framework of the SOURCE Network of Excellence. For information, contact: Marco Stefan (