Ethnic Homogeneity as a Part of National Identity? The CJEU’s Response to National Identity Claim concerning Relocation Mechanism

The binding relocation mechanism, as established in Council decisions 2015/1523 and 2015/1601, showed the EU is sharply divided on what is the practical meaning of solidarity in asylum and migration matters among members states (Article 80 TFEU). Later, infringement proceedings against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for their non-compliance with relocation decisions (joined cases C-715/17, C-718/17, C-719/17) provided an opportunity to frame the issue as one affecting essential state functions and, consequently, national identity of these member states. This paper will argue that the response of the Court to the national identity claim did not depart substantially from the way the Court had dealt with Art 4(2) TEU arguments in the past. However, given the fact the argument rested on dubious cultural/ethnocentric understanding of national identity that is difficult to square within the limits of the concept, the Court should have responded more directly to its problematic parts.