Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The Schengen Protocol and the position of Ireland and the United Kingdom. – III. Distinguishing “limited cooperation” from a full “taking part” in the Schengen acquis. – IV. Concluding remarks.
Abstract: In case C-44/14, Spain v. European Parliament and Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union has had the opportunity to clarify the scope and effects of the British and Irish opt-out in the Schengen area. The Court held that a limited cooperation with those countries by means of international agreements in an area of the Schengen acquis, that does not apply, notoriously, to Ireland and the United Kingdom, does not infringe Art. 4 of the Schengen Protocol. By upholding the legality of such agreements, the judgment introduces some flexibility in dealing with opt-outs, while at the same time confirming that an unrestrained à la carte approach would not be tolerated.
Keywords: differentiated integration – opting-out – Ireland and the United Kingdom – Schengen acquis – EUROSUR Regulation – cooperation through international agreements.
* PhD candidate, University of Milan-Bicocca, email@example.com.