In 1966 Stanley Hoffmann wrote that European integration would be more likely to proceed in areas of ‘low’ than ‘high’ politics – integration was more likely in areas that did not impinge so directly on state sovereignty. He went on to argue that states would be reluctant to move into high politics because it would be akin to a game of Russian roulette that they’d only play if the gun was loaded with blanks. In the post-Lisbon EU, internal security policy within the ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ (AFSJ) is firmly embedded as a key EU priority encompassing policing, judicial co-operation, border controls, migration and asylum and has been accompanied by institutional development, consolidation and transformation. Institutional change has also been informed by re-conceptualisations of internal security that have played a powerful role in framing institutional and policy developments. How then can we account for the ways in which power and responsibilities have been ceded to EU level? How has this changed the relationship between member states and EU institutions? How well equipped is the EU to cope with security threats while also taking seriously its commitment to freedom and justice?
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