Captured between subsidiarity and solidarity: any European added value for the Pact on Migration and Asylum?
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Solidarity is a core value of European integration which is highly invoked at the political level as the ‘binder’ to fix the several crises the EU has faced. It has been as well put forward as a core pillar of the Pact on Migration and Asylum. Despite the narrative of the Commission stressing the novelty of the Pact, yet the Pact has been criticized, by scholars and practitioners alike, as being short-sighted on solidarity. The aim of this article is to contribute to the current debate on the Pact by demonstrating that by being modest on the implementation of the principle of solidarity, the Commission is also not fulfilling the principle of subsidiarity. The article proceeds by first unpacking the principle of subsidiarity, particularly its side of requiring a European added value of legislative proposals, which has been recently highlighted. It develops then an analysis on the meaning of the principle of solidarity, which should have a corrective dimension in the sense of fairly redistributing the effort between Member States. It emerges that, in today’s asylum policy, subsidiarity and solidarity are interlocked, so that requiring a “European added value” of the new rules calls for increasing the degree of solidarity. In the second part, the article analyses the Commission’s proposals on the screening, the new border procedures, the asylum management, and the return sponsorship mechanism, to show where the low degree of solidarity that they enshrine corresponds to a failure of the positive dimension of the subsidiarity test.