open access

Abstract

 

Summary: This paper focuses on the principles of mutual recognition and mutual trust in the area of justice and home affairs, with which the current Member States are supposed to comply with and which are so vigorously applied in the Western Balkans. The growing importance of these principles both for the Member States and the candidate and potential candidate countries will be discussed, since the pre-accession framework is a very powerful tool to export those values and principles to the Western Balkans. In addition, the paper will argue that on the one hand the EU is aware that the current Member States do not comply with those values and principles and the tools available to force the Member States to comply are very weak. While, on the other hand, the Western Balkan countries are not allowed one step further towards membership if they do not comply with those values and principles. This illustrates that the EU has double standards in the application of its values and principles.