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Solidarity and Responsibility: Advancing Humanitarian Responses to EU Migratory Pressures

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The principle of solidarity is embedded in the foundations of the European Union (EU) legal system and is integral to the very ethos that has made the Union possible. However, as Member States struggle with contemporary challenges such as high migration flows, terrorism and economic turmoil they have predominantly adopted individualist and protectionist strategies which undermine the character of the Union. Those strategies include, for instance, building walls and securitising internal borders.This contribution argues that solidarity is inextricably linked with responsibility. Solidarity gives rise to responsibility and is a desired consequence of responsibility. Thus, this work suggests that strengthening the binomial of solidarity/responsibility is the solution that will create effective practices in meeting the humanitarian needs of refugees and sharing burdens between Member States.The contribution analyses the EU’s commitment to solidarity/responsibility and calls for Member States to demonstrate their commitment. Three types of Member State solidarity/responsibility are identified: 1) towards refugees and migrants, 2) towards fellow countries and 3) towards the EU itself. The latter finds its legal foundation in the principle of ‘sincere cooperation’ as enshrined in Article 4 (3) TEU and constitutes a means of protecting collective interest and precluding unilateral Member State actions that might jeopardize the entire EU project.

Affiliations: 1: Oxford Brookes University, School of Law, Headington Hill Hall Oxford ox3 0BPUK


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