The price of solidarity: distributing the responsibilities for people in need of international protection within the EU and between the EU and third countries

Doctoral candidate: Eleni Karageorgiou

The purpose of this project is to analyse the distribution of responsibilities in the area of asylum in the EU and between EU Member States and third countries. The project comprises an empirical and a theoretical part. In the empirical part the aim is to map the various dimensions of the division of responsibility in the EU and between EU Member States and third countries. By “various dimensions” is understood primarily the reception of independently arriving asylum seekers, transfers under the Dublin System, the reception of resettled individuals, economic relocations such as those under the ERF and relevant future funds and economic contributions to international organisations such as UNHCR. The theoretical part will develop theory and methods to understand the concepts of “solidarity” and “fair sharing” in Article 80 of TFEU so that existing and future reform proposals regarding the allocation of responsibility can be subjected to scholarly legal analysis.

First, the empirical part will investigate the sharing of responsibility within the EU. This is ultimately regulated by Article 80 of the TFEU, which establishes that Union policy in the area of border control, asylum, and immigration and its implementation must be “governed by the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, including its financial implications, between the Member States”. This allocation of responsibility is to be regarded as including norms, monies, and people. Thereby the distributive effects of legislation in the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) as well as the support provided by EASO will be analysed. The Dublin system has been singled out as producing major imbalances, and the subproject will pose the question of whether the system’s “recast” will entail a change. Furthermore, attempts to create financial balance through the European Refugee Fund will be analysed, with the subproject benefiting from an in-depth quantitative analysis of the ERF (e.g. Eiko Thielemann, LSE). The subproject will also study the issue of relocation of asylum seekers that have been received by especially exposed Member States (such as Malta).

Second, the empirical part will tackle the question of sharing of responsibility between the European Union and its Member States, on the one hand, and third countries, on the other hand. In this field, too, the above analytical key will be applied (norms, monies, people). Primarily the transfer of protection-related norms to potential host states will be considered, as will economic incentives. The subproject will also reflect specific discussions on resettlement from Iraq and Northern Africa, respectively.

The theoretical part of the study will take up the grounds for distributing responsibility. Here the question is posed whether economic distribution of responsibility and relocation, on the one hand, and reception of spontaneously arriving asylum seekers, on the other hand, can be compared at all. This will lead to the development of a theory and method for analysing existing and future reform proposals regarding the division of responsibility. The criteria for the concepts of “solidarity” and “fair sharing” in Article 80 of TFEU will be interpreted in reference to various approaches to fairness in the field of legal theory.

The subproject is a dissertation project at the Department of Law, Lund University. Supervisor: Gregor Noll (Lund).

Read a brief summary of the subproject (June 2015).