The Right to Life under the EU Charter and the Cooperation with Third Countries to Combat Human Smuggling and Trafficking
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According to the EU policy documents ‘[s]aving lives of people in distress is a primary goal of EU action in relation to managing the EU external borders.’ The chosen means for achieving this objective is taking measures against human smuggling and human trafficking; these measures include the establishment of cooperation with countries of origin and transit so that migrants’ movement is prevented. This article examines whether the chosen means comply with the EU’s and the EU Member States’ positive obligations corresponding to the right to life as enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. After engaging with any formal obstacles that might prevent the activation of the Charter, the article clarifies the scope of these positive obligations. It concludes that these obligations demand that the EU and its Member States propose alternative measures and initiate an assessment as to whether any alternatives (e.g. legal routes to entry) might be too burdensome and unreasonable.