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Freedom and security

The creation of an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ) is one of the objectives of the European Union (EU). It is based on Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and on Article 67 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. In this area with no internal borders, citizens can move about freely. The AFSJ also includes measures in respect to external border controls, asylum and immigration, as well as in regard to preventing and fighting crime.

The legally binding EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights consolidates all the fundamental rights applicable at the European Union (EU) level. In addition to protecting civil and political rights, it covers workers' social rights, data protection, bioethics and the right to good administration.

Policy and legislation under the EU's freedom and security policy embrace a wide range of important themes including:

  • citizens' free movement throughout the EU with no border checks at internal borders - Schengen Agreement;
  • a common asylum and immigration policy;
  • border controls at external borders based on solidarity between EU countries and what is equitable in regard to non-EU citizens.

The EU aims to ensure a high level of safety for its citizens. It seeks to achieve this by measures to prevent crime, racism and xenophobia, as well as by measures to promote coordination and cooperation between police (Europol) and judicial (Eurojust) authorities.

EU police cooperation is developing. This involves EU countries' competent authorities such as police forces, customs and other services specialised in areas such as crime prevention, detection or investigation.

In March 2014, the European Commission adopted a communication entitled ‘The EU Justice Agenda for 2020 - Strengthening Trust, Mobility and Growth within the Union’. This outlines its vision for the future of EU justice policy.