Eiko Thielemann

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations



References to ‘burden-sharing’, ‘responsibility-sharing’, or what the Lisbon Treaty now prefers to call ‘solidarity between the member states’ are frequently heard in the context of EU policy making. Most recently, such references have been prominent in the fields of financial bailouts in the context of the EMU, EU climate change policy, and member states' defence collaboration. This article aims to contribute to the nascent debate on European burden-sharing by addressing the following questions: Why and under what conditions does burden-sharing among the member states take place? Why are ‘burdens’ so unequally distributed and how can one explain existing patterns of burden distribution among states? Why are effective and equitable burden-sharing arrangements so difficult to achieve? These questions are addressed by first providing on overview of the theoretical debate on the motivations and mechanisms of EU burden-sharing; and second, by illustrating some of the challenges and limitations of equitable burden-sharing in the case of EU refugee management.

Keywords: burden-sharing; EU policy; member states; refugee management

Article.  6285 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union

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