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1 See, regarding solidarity between the peoples of Europe, the Preamble to the TEU and Art. 3(3) TEU; regarding solidarity between member states, Arts. 24(2) and 31(1) TEU, Arts. 67(2), 80, 122, 194, 222 TFEU and the Protocol no. 28 attached thereto; regarding solidarity between generations, Art. 3(3) TEU.

2 Art. 2 TEU, which is the main normative provision setting out the Union’s founding values, does not name solidarity as such a value.

3 See, for instance, to that effect, the recent recognition by the Court of the horizontal direct effect of the right to paid annual leave under Art. 31 of the Charter, ECJ 6 November 2018, Cases C-569/16 and C-570/16, Bauer and Willmeroth, EU:C:2018:871, paras. 84-85. See, in this issue, the case note on Bauer et al., E. Frantziou, ‘(Most of) The Charter of Fundamental Rights is Horizontally Applicable’, 15 EuConst (2019) p. 306.

4 In the recent past, however, certain forms of solidarity between member states have come to light, especially in the context of the Eurozone. See, for example, WTE/DN, Editorial ‘Rethinking Solidarity in the EU, from Fact to Social Contract’, 7(2) EuConst (2011) p. 169; Borger, V., ‘How the Debt Crisis Exposes the Development of Solidarity in the Euro Area’, 9(1) EuConst (2013) p. 7.

5 See, for example, the opposition of certain member states vis-à-vis the relocation of third-country nationals across the EU (the so-called relocation quotas) in the context of their sudden inflow in Greece and in Italy. That situation gave rise to ECJ 6 September 2017, Cases C-643/15 and C-647/15, Slovakia and Hungary v Council, EU:C:2017:631. See also the pending actions for infringement introduced by the Commission against Poland, Hungary and Czechia, respectively Cases C-715/17, C-718/17 and C-719/17.

6 I. Kant, Perpetual Peace and Other Essays on Politics, History and Morals, trans. T. Humphrey (Hackett 1983) p. 118-120.

7 Decision no. 2018-717/718 QPC of 6 July 2018, Mr Cédric H. and another.

8 From a French perspective, fraternity and solidarity largely overlap in terms of substance, although it should formally be possible to distinguish between the two. Historically, the narrative of fraternity, with its affective dimension drawing on the legacies of both Christianism and the Enlightenment, has gradually been superseded by the more scientific and neutral term ‘solidarity’.

9 On this offence, in connection with the present cases, see S. Slama, ‘Délit de solidarité: actualité d’un délit d’une autre époque’, Lexbase L’information juridique, 20 April 2017, 〈〉, visited 14 May 2019; S. Hennette-Vauchez, ‘Vent mauvais sur la solidarité’, Libération, 9 February 2017, 〈〉, visited 14 May 2019.

10 Art. L. 622-1 of the Code de l’entrée et du séjour des étrangers et du droit d’asile (CESEDA).

11 Art. L. 622-4, 1o and 2o CESEDA.

12 Art. L. 622-4, 3o CESEDA.

13 The QPC is a mechanism, added in 2008 to the French Constitution (Art. 61-1), that allows plaintiffs, in the course of a lawsuit before an ordinary court, to raise an issue relating to the compatibility of the applicable legislation with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution. If that issue is deemed sufficiently new and serious, the ordinary court hearing the case on the merits refers the question to the Cour de cassation or the Conseil d’État, which can in turn decide to refer the matter to the Conseil constitutionnel. In the meantime, the proceedings on the merits are stayed until the latter makes its pronouncement.

14 Para. 7 of decision no. 2018-717/718 QPC.

15 Ibid., para. 8.

16 Ibid., paras. 9 and 10.

17 Ibid., para. 13.

18 Ibid., para. 12 in fine. See also para. 24.

19 See Art. 38 of Law No. 2018-778 of 10 September 2018 for contained immigration, an effective right to asylum and successful integration.

20 That wording suggests that the legislature has opted for a slightly more restrictive approach than the one taken by the Conseil, the exclusive character of the humanitarian aim being absent from the latter’s decision.

21 On the subversive function of the fraternity principle, see notably G. Canivet, ‘La fraternité dans le droit constitutionnel français’ (Conference in honour of Charles Doherty Gonthier, 20-21 May 2011), available at 〈〉, visited 14 May 2019.

22 For example, the minimum income allowance (the so-called ‘RMI’, later the ‘RSA’) or the right to decent housing. See, more broadly, M. Borgetto, La notion de fraternité en droit public français. Le passé, le présent et l’avenir de la solidarité (LGDJ 1993); M. Borgetto, ‘Sur le principe constitutionnel de fraternité’, RDLF (2018) chron. n° 14.

23 Preamble of the Constitution of 1946, which is still currently in force via the preamble of the Constitution of 4 October 1958. See also the latter’s Art. 53-1, adopted on the occasion of the ratification of the Schengen Agreement and which provides that: ‘… the authorities of the Republic shall remain empowered to grant asylum to any Foreigner who is persecuted for his action in pursuit of freedom or who seeks the protection of France on other grounds’.

24 That notably explains why some French scholars have vehemently criticised the Conseil’s decision, in spite of its rather limited reach. See, for example, A.-M. Le Pourhiet, ‘La condamnation de Cédric Herrou a été annulée par un coup d’État du Conseil constitutionnel’, Figarovox, 10 July 2018, 〈〉, visited 14 May 2019; Club-Jean-Bodin, ‘Migrants: le Conseil constitutionnel en guerre contre la souveraineté populaire’, Figarovox, 7 July 2018, 〈〉, visited 14 May 2019.

25 On that potential, see, for example, C.D. Gonthier, ‘La fraternité comme valeur constitutionnelle’, La fraternité, Congress of ACCPUF, 〈〉, visited 14 May 2019.

26 Regarding the alleged potential use of dormant fraternity in favour of minorities where the principle of equality has failed, see Gilbert, J. and Keane, D., ‘Equality versus fraternity? Rethinking France and its minorities’, 14(4) I.CON (2016) p. 883.

27 Council Directive 2002/90/EC of 28 November 2002 (OJ 2002 L 328, p. 17).

28 OJ 2000 C 253, p. 1.

29 For the record, the French initiative only foresaw the exemption applying to relatives.

30 See ECJ 28 April 2011, Case C-61/11 PPU, El Dridi, EU:C:2011:268, paras. 58-59; and ECJ 6 December 2011, Case C-329/11, Achughbabian, EU:C:2011:807, paras. 45-46.

31 See ECJ 6 October 2016, Case C-218/15, Paoletti and Others, EU:C:2016:748, issued in the specific context prior to Romania’s accession to the EU; and ECJ 10 April 2012, C-83/12 PPU, Vo, EU:C:2012:202, with regard to the compatibility of the offence with the Visa Code.

32 ECtHR 10 November 2011, Case No 29681/08, Mallah v France, with a dissenting opinion of Judge Power-Forde.

33 Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the member states by a third-country national or a stateless person (recast) (OJ 2013 L 180, p. 31).

34 See ECJ 21 December 2011, Cases C-411/10 and C-493/10, N.S. and Others, EU:C:2011:865, para. 86. The Court recently cleared Italy in this respect, leaving open the possibility, however, for an applicant for international protection to demonstrate in concreto that he would find himself in a situation of extreme material poverty; ECJ 19 March 2019, Case C-163/17, Jawo, EU:C:2019:218, paras. 95-97.


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