Mutual Recognition and Fundamental Rights Protection in an EU Area of Justice: The Other Side of Distrust

The CJEU rulings in the cases of Aranyosi and LM have been welcomed by many for their potential to restore the balance between on the one hand effective cross-border cooperation (such as through the European arrest warrant mechanism) and on the other hand proper safeguarding of fundamental rights. But other voices have been heard too, arguing for instance that the concept of rebuttable trust eliminates true mutual recognition and in fact establishes a gradual return to classic cooperation systems, thereby endangering efficient law enforcement across Europe. In a response to these concerns, this paper nevertheless takes the position that the positive bearing of the CJEU’s new avenue carries much further than the strengthening of fundamental rights protection in a cross-border context. It will be argued that from an overarching perspective, the concept of rebuttable trust in the EU criminal justice context in fact illustrates that the mutual recognition system has grown to maturity.