Security and the Two-Level Game: The Treaty of Prüm, the EU and the Management of Threats

Sunday, 1 January 2006
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On 27 May 2005, seven Member States signed the Prüm Convention to step up cross-border cooperation, particularly in combating terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration. Named after the German city in which it was signed, the Treaty’s main advantage is that it enables the signatories to speed up the exchange of information. However, this paper argues that the Treaty produces negative externalities for the European Union’s area of freedom, security and justice by circumventing the EU framework. First, by keeping the Convention under a multilateral umbrella, the signatories create a hierarchy within the EU. Second, by reverting to an intergovernmental arena, the European Parliament is ignored precisely at a time when it is achieving an increasingly central role in law-making in this field. As a result, Prüm weakens the EU more than it strengthens it, and under many circumstances, it simply cannot provide the way forward to the establishment of a manageable area of freedom, security and justice.