Solidarity as Normative Rationale for Differential Treatment: Common but Differentiated Responsibilities from International Environmental to EU Asylum Law?

Mavropoulou, E. and Tsourdi, L. 2022. Solidarity as Normative Rationale for Differential Treatment: Common but Differentiated Responsibilities from International Environmental to EU Asylum Law? Netherlands Yearbook of International Law. 51, pp. 311-342. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-527-0

TitleSolidarity as Normative Rationale for Differential Treatment: Common but Differentiated Responsibilities from International Environmental to EU Asylum Law?
TypeEdited issue
AuthorsMavropoulou, E. and Tsourdi, L.
Abstract

The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), though a product of the international environmental law of the 1990s, has crept into the language of most, if not all, areas of common concern at UN level. In this chapter, we trace the development and evolution of the principle of CBDR as an expression of fairness and solidarity in international law and focus on its application in international environmental law. We then further explore whether a logic of CBDR is now reflected in the recent global refugee policy instruments at UN level and whether traces of the principle can be found in EU asylum policy and the Common European Asylum System. We conclude that a logic of CBDR permeates recent asylum and refugee policy at UN and EU level, albeit manifested and operationalised in distinct ways. In the first instance at UN level, although a version of CBDR vaguely frames the non-binding responsibility sharing arrangements under the Global Compact on Refugees, it is not explicit or concrete to help us understand what a common responsibility to protect the refugees entails concretely and how such common responsibility ought to be equitably shared. Failing to explicitly debate and adopt the principle even in a soft law instrument, the Global Compact on Refugees missed the opportunity to collectivise the responsibility to protect refugees and meaningfully address the perennial gap of the Refugee Convention. In the second instance, at EU asylum policy level, the legislative developments do reflect a logic of differentiated contributions in what is conceived as a common responsibility. However, differentiation is not serving a conception of solidarity and fair sharing, but merely political expediency by endorsing certain states’ reluctance to engage with refugee protection.

Keywordscommon but differentiated responsibilities
solidarity
environmental law
refugee law
responsibility sharing
EU asylum policy
common European asylum system
JournalNetherlands Yearbook of International Law
Journal citation51, pp. 311-342
ISSN1574-0951
0167-6768
Year2022
PublisherSpringer
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Controlled (open metadata, closed files)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-527-0
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-94-6265-527-0
Publication dates
Published23 Aug 2022

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