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There is substantial disagreement in academic literature over how to address the tensions between the application of mutual recognition and the safeguarding of individual rights, particularly in the EU criminal justice area. This book investigates those tensions by re-examining the nature of mutual recognition in European law from an individual rights perspective. A key question is the role played by mutual recognition in the process of reconciling free movement and other interests.
The book contains a comparative analysis of mutual recognition in the internal market and the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. It assesses mutual recognition in the context of the aims of both areas, the principles of European law and norms laid down in primary and secondary EU law. The analysis follows mutual recognition in the fields of product requirements, professional qualifications and judicial decisions in criminal matters.
The author concludes that the core function of mutual recognition has been obscured by assertions made by EU policy makers regarding its consequences, which fail to distinguish between policy objectives, integration methods and legal obligations. This has also lead to a debate among academics and an interpretation of mutual recognition by the Court of Justice which presents an unnecessary conflict between the application of mutual recognition and the safeguarding of individual rights. It is argued that for mutual recognition to have a stable future in the EU criminal justice area, clarity regarding its aims is urgently required and individual rights need to be enhanced both in judicial cooperation measures and through harmonisation of suspects' rights in criminal proceedings.