07 Oct 2022

The Declaration on a Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism and EU Asylum Policy

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back on Equal Solidarity

Sergio Carrera / Roberto Cortinovis

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Policy debates on solidarity in EU asylum policy have been shaken by large-scale arrivals from Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022. The unprecedented decision to grant temporary protection to displaced people from Ukraine, with the associated right for beneficiaries to move freely across Member States, has laid bare the structural inadequacies of the EU Dublin system and its compensatory arrangements for responsibility sharing among Member States.

This contribution explores the key features of the Declaration on a Voluntary Solidarity Mechanism adopted by a group of Member States in June 2022 under the auspices of the former French Presidency of the Council. The analysis argues that the 2022 Declaration is not a mechanism but a non-legally binding arrangement that gives preference to an intergovernmental, asymmetric and unequal notion of solidarity. It argues for an alternative approach to the EU solidarity principle that is subordinated to justice and safeguards humanitarian solidarity, and puts forward five action points to inform future EU asylum policy.

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