Chapter 29: Mutual trust as a driver of integration: which way forward?
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The notion of mutual trust is central to integration in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ). Despite its generalised use by the CJEU and the European Commission in this area, questions about the nature, classification, and status of mutual trust remain unanswered. This paper seeks to clarify these issues in order to establish whether mutual trust constitutes a general principle of EU law. It argues that despite lacking the degree of generality and certainty needed to guarantee that mutual trust transcends the AFSJ, it has become a principle with constitutional or quasi-constitutional status within this area. Nevertheless, this does not entail that mutual trust is an absolute principle, as it has to be balanced against other principles of EU law, such as fundamental rights, when applied into the AFSJ. This chapter explores this complex balance, its evolution, and how such an evolution challenges the status of mutual trust.

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