Odysseus Annual Conference 2016

The Odysseus Network’s 1st Annual Conference

“Searching for Solidarity in EU Asylum and Border Policies”



On this page

  1. About the Conference
  2. Materials from the Conference
    • The conference programme
    • The speakers’ short biographies
  3. Short Papers on Searching for Solidarity
  4. Blog Post on Searching for Solidarity
  5. Powerpoint Presentations and Audio Recordings
  6. Maastricht Journal Special Issue on Solidarity

About the conference

The Odysseus Academic Network, in cooperation with the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) of the European University Institute (EUI), hosted its first annual policy conference in Brussels on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 February 2016.

In line with the current crisis unfolding as Member States adopt national responses, the conference centred around the question of solidarity in EU asylum and border policies. The different types of solidarity (financial, physical, operational and normative) present in the EU were analysed throughout the different presentations and panels.

Structure of the conference

The conference started by addressing the specificities of solidarity in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice in comparison with other EU policies as well as with the situation in third countries such as Turkey.

The second session, focussing on EU Asylum Policy, was devoted to the delicate issue of the relocation of asylum seekers between Member States, and establishing the right balance between solidarity and responsibility in relation to the upcoming revision of the Dublin Regulation.

The final session analysed to which extent the current EU institutional framework and, in particular, the status of the relevant agencies (Frontex and EASO), foster solidarity.

Materials from the conference

Short Papers on Searching for SolidarityShort paper cover

A collection of short papers by speakers at the conference is now available, with articles by Gregor Noll, Evangelia (Lilian) Tsourdi, Madeline Garlick, Philippe De Bruycker, Nuno Piçarra and Aikaterini Drakopoulou.

Click here to read more.

Blog Post on Searching for Solidarity

Desperately searching for solidarity: the EU asylum saga continues

by Jean-Baptiste Farcy, Eimear O’Neill and David Watt, Odysseus Network OMNIA Project.

Powerpoint Presentations and Audio Recordings

Session 1

EU Law: The Search for Solidarity

Part 1, Chaired by Professor Stefan Braum, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Economy and Finance, University of Luxembourg

Welcome Speech, Professor Philippe De Bruycker, Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute and the Institute for European Studies, Université libre de Bruxelles


Introductory Keynote Speech: “Failure by Design? On the Constitution of EU Solidarity, Professor Gregor Noll, Lund University


Panel: “Exploring the Solidarity Question”

  • Solidarity and Article 80 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Ms Eleni Karageorgiou, PhD Candidate in Public International Law, Lund University


  • The Principle of ‘External’ Solidarity: Meaning, Dimensions and Implications, Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax, Co-Director of CEILA (Centre for European and International Legal Affairs), Queen Mary, University of London


  • Solidarity and Mutual Recognition: Lessons from European Criminal Justice Cooperation, Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas, Queen Mary, University of London


Part 2, Chaired by Professor Henri Labayle, Université de Pau & Guest Professor at the College of Europe and the Global Institute of Geneva

Panel: “Solidarity from a Range of Perspectives”

  • The Experience of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Mr Pascal Schumacher, Advisor on Justice and Home Affairs, Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the EU
  • The Asylum Crisis in Figures, Professor Philippe Fargues, Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute

To download the presentation click here Fargues-on-Data-on-Migration


  • A Reflection from Turkey, Assistant Professor Saime Ozcurumez, Bilkent University, Turkey, Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University

To download the presentation click here Ozcurumez-on-Turkey-PPT

Session 2

EU Asylum Policy: The Search for Fair Sharing of Responsibility

Chaired by Mr. Juris Gromovs, Migration and Freedom of Movement Advisor at the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Solidarity in International and Refugee Law and Policy, Professor Alexander Betts, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford


Inter-State Solidarity in EU Asylum Policy, Ms Lilian Tsourdi, Université libre de Bruxelles, Université catholique de Louvain


Panel: “Physical Solidarity”

  • A Point of View from Eastern Europe, Dr Věra Honusková, Charles University, Prague

To download the presentation click here Honuskova-on-View-from-Central-Europe-PPT1


  • Relocation in Practice from Greece, Ms Dionysia Papailiou, Head of the Regional Asylum Office of Lesvos, Relocation Unit

To download the presentation click here Papailiou-on-Relocation-from-Greece-PPT1


Panel: “Solidarity vs. Responsibility”

  • The Commission Proposal for a Crisis Relocation Mechanism, Dr Miriam Dalli, MEP, S&D Shadow Rapporteur on the Crisis Relocation Mechanism


  • After Dublin: Basic Principles and Possible Scenarios, Professor Francesco Maiani, University of Lausanne


  • An NGO Perspective, Mr Kris Pollet, European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)


Session 3

EU Agencies: The Search for an Institutional Framework of Solidarity

Chaired by Professor Thomas Spijkerboer, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Practical Cooperation on Asylum and the First Years of the EASO, Ms Madeline Garlick, Chief of the Protection Policy and Legal Advice Section in the Division of International Protection, UNHCR

To download the presentation click here Garlick-on-EASO-PPT1


Solidarity in External Borders Policy: the Case of FRONTEX, Ms Andreea Niculiu, Strategic Policy Officer, Cabinet of the Director, FRONTEX

To download the presentation click here Niculiu-on-Frontex_Solidarity_Tool-PPT1


Solidarity and EU Agencies: What is the Future for FRONTEX and EASO? Professor Philippe De Bruycker, Migration Policy Centre, European University Institute and the Institute for European Studies, Université libre de Bruxelles


Control and Closure of Internal Borders in the Schengen Area, Professor Nuno Piçarra, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

To download the presentation click here Piçarra-on-Border-Controls-and-Schengen


Panel: “Operational Solidarity”

  • Comments by a Representative of the EASO, Mr Claus Folden, Head of Operational Support at the European Asylum Support Office


  • Comments on the functioning of Hotspots, Ms Maria de Donato, Head of the Legal Department, Italian Council for Refugees


  • Comments by a FRONTEX Representative, Andreea Niculiu, Strategic Policy Officer, Cabinet of the Director, FRONTEX


General Conclusions

  • Session 1: Professor Jens Vedsted-Hansen, Aarhus University
  • Session 2: Dr Ulrike Brandl, Universität Salzburg
  • Session 3: Dr Jorrit Rijpma, Leiden Law School

Searching for solidarity in the EU asylum and border policies, Constitutional and operational dimensions, by Daniel Thym and Lilian Tsourdi

As an outcome of the 2016 Annual Policy Conference of the Odysseus Academic Network “Searching for Solidarity in EU Asylum and Border Policies”, a special issue of the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law has been edited by Daniel Thym and Lilian Tsourdi. This special issue is available here.

Solidarity was once at the core of the European integration process. While originally intended to facilitate further integration, solidarity, in recent years, has often been associated with the intention of safeguarding existing policies. This article attempts to untangle this polysemous concept. It discusses the constitutional significance of solidarity, ultimately distinguishing four discernible dimensions in the EU context: transnational solidarity, inter-state solidarity, solidarity between a particular group of individuals and, finally, the institutional dimension. It unpacks the interaction between solidarity, loyalty and mutual trust, ascertaining them as interlocking principles. We focus on solidarity in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice, revealing it to have legal effects which require compensatory action to support the application of supranational rules. Nonetheless, the principle can be realized in different ways, and it is far from certain whether the EU institutions are able to muster the political clout and the political legitimacy necessary to overcome divergences of opinion and perception. Against this backdrop, we sketch what EU institutions have undertaken to operationalize the principle in the ambit of EU asylum and border control policies to respond to the refugee policy crisis. The contributions to this special issue delve more deeply into the different aspects of this central theme.







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