The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union definitely has implications, beyond the right to asylum, for how the EU should act towards people in need outside the EU, Tommaso Colombo and Jos Philips argue. They defend this by proposing a rights-based philosophical reading of the Charter, rather than a relational or consequence-based reading.
Tommaso Colombo and Jos Philips, University of Utrecht
The so-called ‘refugee crisis’, which involved the arrival on European territory of more than 1,5 million refugees in 2015, has generated several, sometimes conflicting views concerning how to deal with refugees, both among the public and in more ‘official’ political debates in the Union. This fragmentation of views among Europeans arguably represents a challenge to the European ‘project’, more precisely, to the Union’s goal of creating a common, stable normative understanding focused on the importance of guaranteeing people’s fundamental rights. One of the most prominent places where such a focus is found is in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, on which this blog entry will concentrate. The Charter testifies to a clear commitment to human rights and explicitly addresses the right to asylum. This suggests that the EU’s commitment to human rights includes refugees within its scope. Yet the ‘refugee crisis’ –we will stick to this common albeit not very fortunate expression– has shown that there are heterogeneous views about the scope of this commitment. Does the Union’s commitment to guaranteeing fundamental rights concern its own citizens and those who stand to be recognized as refugees? Or is its scope broader and does the Charter have – more or less clear – implications, beyond the right to asylum, for how the EU should act towards people in need who are outside the EU (and who are not its citizens)? In this blog post, we propose a philosophical reading of the Charter – as an articulation of the Union’s ideal of guaranteeing fundamental rights – where there are definitely such implications.