The development of justice and home affairs (JHA) as a European Union policy-making field has gone from a pragmatic and unobligated type of collaboration outside the European Community towards a closer cooperation within the EU. Effective ‘laboratories’ such as the Council of Europe, TREVI and Schengen have been active parts in the development.
Further, we can see driving factors as overcoming transnational challenges, spillover effects from the internal market and Europeanization contributing to the quite rapid development of the JHA. Still, there is a way to go for creating an effective arena of freedom, security and justice in Europe. There is evidence that the partition of `high’ and `low’ politics confines the European integration, put in proof from the more lately British, Irish and Danish opt-outs from the Reform Treaty.
I will in this essay give a brief historical overview of the historical development of the JHA, then a more analytical approach for understanding the status-quo and I will use the Reform Treaty as an example of my belief that state sovereignty still is valid as a restraint for transiting this area from intergovernmentalism into the Community method.