Solidarity at work? The prevalence of emergency-driven solidarity in the administrative governance of the Common European Asylum System
Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi
Policymakers conceptualize the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) as a ‘common area of protection and solidarity’. And yet, the absence of solidarity and fair-sharing in the administrative governance of the policy is glaringly salient. Against this backdrop, this article explores Article 80 TFEU, establishing the principle of ‘solidarity and fair-sharing of responsibility’. This analysis reveals it to be a principle that is structural to the EU asylum policy, dictates a certain ‘quality’ in the co-operation of the different actors, and affects the goal of the policy. To do this, after outlining the initial implementation design of the asylum policy, I examine ‘shifts’ in its administration modes, focusing on developments in responsibility-assignation, practical cooperation and EU funding. The analysis covers developments prompted by the 2015 ‘refugee crisis’, such as the emergency intra-EU relocation schemes, the emergence of new funding lines and the enhancement in the operational role of EU agencies. This article argues that, despite the rhetoric surrounding the solidarity principle, rather than being structurally embedded in the system’s administration modes, it remains emergency-driven. In this sense, the implementation design fails both to attain ‘fair sharing’, as well as to respond to what are essentially structural, rather than exceptional needs.