Is There Solidarity on Asylum and Migration in the EU?

Iris Goldner Lang

Abstract


Solidarity is one of the core values of the European Union and has been recognised as a guiding principle of the EU asylum policy since the coming into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam. It is now incorporated into Article 80 TFEU, which provides that EU policies on border checks, asylum and immigration must be ‘governed by the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including its financial implications, between the Member States’. The need for solidarity in the area of asylum and migration stems from the fact that some Member States have more asylum seekers than others, some have more refugees than others, and some have more difficulties in coping with them for a number of geographic, economic and other reasons. A range of measures could be used to support the functioning of solidarity, such as: financial assistance, practical cooperation, relocation, resettlement, and joint processing. This paper will discuss the potentials and (limited) progress in applying some of these measures. It will start by discussing Member States’ obligations towards refugees under international and EU asylum law. The discussion will then move on to identifying the meaning of solidarity, its value in practice and Member States’ motivations for establishing solidarity mechanisms. Potential differences between solidarity, burden-sharing and responsibility-sharing will also be considered. Divergent perspectives on the solidarity existing in different Member States with and without external borders will also be taken into account. The paper will conclude by discussing potential prospects on solidarity in the context of the problematic relation between the Dublin ‘state of first entry’ rule and the application of the principle of solidarity.


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