The External Dimension of EU Agencies and Bodies
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The External Dimension of EU Agencies and Bodies

Law and Policy

Edited by Herwig C.H. Hofmann, Ellen Vos and Merijn Chamon

This timely book addresses urgent questions about the external actions of the EU’s decentralized agencies and their effects, such as how they should be conceptualized and assessed, and how these agencies can and should be governed in the future. Bringing together pioneering interdisciplinary work from European legal and political scholars, the book combines theory with empirical case studies to explore an underdeveloped field and identify a future research agenda.
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Chapter 5: Normative Power Frontex? Assessing agency cooperation with third countries

Helena Ekelund


Human rights groups frequently criticize Frontex and the legality of the agency’s operations have been questioned. Recent studies have shown that humanitarian concerns are increasingly emphasized in Frontex communications, however. Drawing on the concept of ‘Normative Power Europe’, this chapter assesses Frontex’s cooperation with third countries with a focus on one norm: respect for fundamental rights. It examines to what extent Frontex exhibits a genuine commitment to fundamental rights implementation and acts in a normative way - that is, applies universal norms and shows willingness to consider the experiences of third countries. It suggests that Frontex has moved towards a more genuine commitment to fundamental rights implementation, and that there is a fair degree of inclusivity and reflexivity as regards third country cooperation. However, the possibility of conflicts of interest as well as discrepancies between declarations on paper and activities on the ground may stand in the way of the agency exercising normative power.

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