Trust thy neighbour? Compliance and proximity to the EU through the lens of extradition

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The principle of mutual trust between Member States is key to the functioning of European Union (EU) law. Rooted in sincere cooperation and equality of the Union’s States, that principle is premised on compliance with shared values, interests, and rules. This fosters close cooperation in many areas, such as law enforcement, as exemplified by the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision (EAW FD). Outside the Union, the presumption is that the principle of mutual trust does not apply. This seems confirmed by the case law on the extradition of EU citizens, with the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) prioritizing intra-EU cooperation over forced transfer of Union nationals to the requesting third countries. As the EU has developed a sophisticated network of relationships with its partners, and neighbours especially, the question arises as to when, if at all, third countries can be trusted, and when that trust can be challenged. By using the benchmark of EU membership as the standard of legal proximity, this article analyses the EU’s relationship with some of its neighbours in cases of extradition. The article creates an analytical framework to tackle unanswered questions around mutual trust and cooperation in criminal matters, and to read into the future of the legal relationship between the EU and some third countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-40
JournalYearbook of European Law
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2021


  • extradition
  • mutual trust
  • European Arrest Warrant
  • values
  • Court of Justice of the EU
  • Iceland and Norway
  • Brexit


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