Shaping the Future Towards a Solidary Refugee Resettlement in the European Union

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The concept of refugee resettlement. – III. A Union based on solidarity and fair responsibility sharing? – IV. The EU can spur global refugee resettlement. – IV.1. The EU’s competence to adopt legislation in the field of refugee resettlement. – IV.2. The EU can support but not replace EUMS’ administration. – IV.3. The adoption of procedural rules that apply outside EU territory. – IV.4. The legal basis for a Union Resettlement Framework Regulation. – V. The US centralized and permanent resettlement framework. – VI. Failed attempts of solidarity and responsibility sharing in the EU. – VII. Conclusion.

Abstract: Against the background of divergent resettlement policies of Member States of the European Union, the principle of solidarity and responsibility sharing has not been effectively realized in this field. Despite standardization efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the resettlement process lacks clear binding rules. So far, the EU has developed a common asylum policy rather than a common refugee policy, whereas resettlement forms part of the latter. One challenge consists of defining and consenting on a common EU resettlement framework, which is based on solidarity and responsibility sharing and adheres to international protection obligations. Looking at the US, the 1980 Refugee Act frames a permanent resettlement program, which is attributed to the federal government. Under this framework, the US has conducted extraterritorial selection of resettlement refugees for decades. This contribution argues that the US resettlement experience provides lessons to be learned for the expansion of EU governance in resettlement and establishment of a future EU resettlement framework.

Keywords: solidarity – responsibility sharing – refugee resettlement – refugee policy – US – federalism.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 2, pp. 1027-1048
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/512

* Doctoral Candidate, University of Innsbruck,


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