One for All and All for One, None for Many and Many for None: Understanding Solidarity in the Common European Asylum System.

Gray, HL
(2017) One for All and All for One, None for Many and Many for None: Understanding Solidarity in the Common European Asylum System. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The European Union’s asylum law and policy has been founded on the principle of solidarity between the Member States. The Treaty of Lisbon cemented this principle in the primary law of the EU at Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and its priority has been re-emphasised in reactions to Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’. Solidarity is offered as an intuitively simple and constructive solution to the challenges facing the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Yet it remains unclear what exactly this entails, as a definition of solidarity is conspicuously absent despite the central role it plays. This absence of a shared understanding makes it very difficult to engage meaningfully with legal or political calls for solidarity and to evaluate or critique the CEAS based on solidarity. This thesis critically investigates the meaning of solidarity in the context of the Common European Asylum System. The first part finds that solidarity conveys numerous different meanings and is used to express these variably at different times, established by drawing on three sources: first, the normative and theoretical underpinnings of the idea of solidarity; second, the development of solidarity in and by the European Union; and third, solidarity or burden-sharing in refugee law and practice through international and regional configurations. This flexibility is used to interpret solidarity in the CEAS in the second part: first to interrogate the contents of the ‘solidarity toolbox’ of practical, financial and legal mechanisms expressing the principle; and second to reflect on its role in shaping the CEAS and in managing the relationships between the EU, the Member States, and persons in need of international protection. From this, it is argued that solidarity does not necessarily entail any specific policy choices, rather, diverse policy options might equally claim to be based on the principle of solidarity. This enables the principle of solidarity to act as a point of agreement for actors with diverse interests and visions for asylum policy, but prevents solidarity guiding CEAS law and policymaking beyond this superficial agreement. Solidarity is a deceptively simple and alluring foundation and problem-solving tool for the CEAS. Its flexibility allows it to offer a veneer of unity to the CEAS, accommodating diverse, even conflicting, visions. On the other hand, this flexibility also means that it is a largely empty vessel and severely limited in its practical ability to guide law and policy planning in the CEAS.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Law and Social Justice
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2018 10:30
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2022 07:13
DOI: 10.17638/03018936