Ongoing and concluded PhDs

PhD researcher or student information

Eleonora Frasca

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Discipline: Law

Degrees BA: Single path 5 years degree in European and International Law (Sapienza, University of Rome, Italy)


MSc in Public Policy and Human Developement (UNU-merit and Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht, The Netherdlands)

PhD Research Information

EU informal migration cooperation with African countries:
A legal analysis of soft law in the EU external dimension of migration law and policy

Brief description:

he focus of this PhD research is on the use of soft cooperation in the field of migration relations between the EU and African countries and the impact that informal cooperation has on European law.

By means of a theoretical analysis, I reflect on whether legal analysis is the most pertinent tool for dealing with an issue – informal cooperation - which stands, by nature, at the boundaries of law. EU informal cooperation with African countries will be analysed through the lens of European soft law theory and the relationship between informal cooperation and EU law will be clarified.

If soft law pertains to the legal sphere, although with characteristics that prevent the attribution of its origin to formal sources, different issues arise: first, resorting to soft law creates semi-juridical spaces and procedures other than those proper to law (de-proceduralisation); second, soft law evades the pre-defined, typical forms of acts, becoming inscrutable and intangible (de-formalisation); third, soft law is elusive to both democratic and judicial control, and poses major obstacles as regard to the justiciability of this kind of cooperation (de-legalisation).

By virtue of the (soft) form of cooperation consequences follow in respect of their content. Both the form and content are on an equal level in respect of their importance, however the difficulty to supervise content derives from the preference of soft forms, opacity and secrecy. Therefore, it is important to investigate legal remedies: actions directed against violations of rules relating, on the one hand, to the form of the acts (and therefore with the purpose of denouncing their soft nature) and, on the other hand, to assert violations relating to the content of these acts (containment and immobility of African migrants).


Keywords: cooperation with third countries, EU external governance, external dimension, soft law

Language(s) of writing: English

Country: Belgium

Home University:

Université Catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain)


Faculté de droit et criminologie, CeDIE

Supervisor: Sylvie Sarolea
Start date: 01-11-2018
PhD current status: PhD Ongoing
PhD research funded by: FBW
Name of grant: ARC (Action de Recherche Concertée)
Added to catalogue on: 22-06-2020

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