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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in EU Migration Law: Is the European Parliament Becoming Bad and Ugly? (The Adoption of Directive 2008/15: The Returns Directive)

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Historically, the European Union has had a dichotomy between the liberal view in immigration management represented by the Parliament (‘the good’) and the Commission (‘the ugly’), and the conservative approach embodied by the Council (‘the bad’). This article deals with the first important immigration instrument adopted under co-decision: Directive 2008/115 (the so-called ‘Returns Directive’). This Directive has received a great deal of criticism addressed to the European Parliament in its approval of the text negotiated with the Council in the first reading, without introducing a single amendment. This behaviour has cast doubts as to whether the future involvement of this institution will result in a more migrant-friendly approach in the European Union. The reasons why the European Parliament voted in favour of the Directive will be analysed in the following pages. But first, a question arises: Is the European Parliament becoming ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ or has its involvement improved the Council’s position in a way which would not have been possible without its participation? This is the main issue that this article, in the following pages, will try to answer by analysing the different steps in the adoption of the Directive from the Commission proposal until its official publication.


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