* Respectively, Ph.D. candidate, Law Faculty, Trinity College, Dublin and Ph.D. candidate, Law Faculty & Institute for European Studies, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB). The authors extend their gratitude to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for the funding through the UNHCR Small Grants programme that made the research underlying this article possible. A research report originally appeared in the UNHCR series New Issues in Refugee Research, Research Paper No. 231, Jan. 2012. The authors also extend their thanks to the organizers and participants of the Conference on the Governance of Asylum and Migration in the European Union held at the University of Salford, Jan. 2012, for their comments on the earlier version.
This article assesses the European Union’s efforts to implement refugee protection and how solidarity and responsibility-sharing apply between Member States. The analysis focuses on the case of Greece, which faces extreme migratory pressures and is still in the process of building an effective asylum system. The research locates the types of responsibilities owed to refugees under European Union law for selected areas such as humanitarian support upon arrival, assessment of protection needs, and provision of material reception conditions to those who request protection. It also examines the effect of the European Union’s responsibility allocation regime in placing those responsibilities disproportionately on Greece. As a response to this crisis, European Union’s institutions and agencies as well as individual Member States have undertaken a series of measures to support Greece. This research will outline European Union’s solidarity measures undertaken in Greece and their basis in European Union law. It will assess the impact of these mechanisms on Greece’s capacity to fulfil its humanitarian obligations and highlight gaps and challenges that remain.