Paula Garcia Andrade is an Associate Professor of Public International Law and European Union Law at Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid. She studied at the same university, where she graduated in 2005 in Law with a specialization in International Relations. Subsequently, she completed a Master in European Law at the Institute of European Studies of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (2006) and obtained the degree of Doctor of Law from the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, with Honorable Distinction for the best Doctoral Thesis (2012 ).
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The increasing tendency of the EU to resort to non-legally binding instruments in its external action is clearly perceivable in the field of migration, which appears as one of the paradigmatic policy areas in which declarations, statements, memoranda and arrangements are employed to govern cooperation with third countries. In spite of the benefits that informalisation may provide to the management of external relations, recourse to international soft law does not allow the Union to ignore the constitutional framework in which its external action shall develop. Consequently, it is essential to shed light on the constitutional limitations that structural principles of EU external relations law impose on the recourse to non-legally binding agreements, illustrated in a particularly rights-sensitive area as migration. The principles of conferral, institutional balance and rule of law will guide this analysis, aimed at recalling how resorting to international soft law instruments must respect the attribution of competences and their distribution between the EU and Member States; clarifying the delimitation of powers among EU institutions to adopt these informal acts, particularly the tandem Commission-Council and the neglected role of the European Parliament in their adoption; and finally addressing the effects of international soft law instruments on individual rights as well as the justiciability of these acts before the ECJ.