Europe appears to be experiencing a ‘we are all in this together’ moment in the face of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine with an unprecedented show of solidarity towards asylum seekers. For sure, it ticks several political boxes for Europe: from presenting a unified front against Russia and seeking to strengthen regional stability to salvaging its own image as a normative actor with an incentive to shape the discourse on rights and responsibilities. But this seemingly golden moment of solidarity has a dark side to it. It paradoxically speaks of Europe’s abdication of, and not adherence to, universal refugee protection norms. The feel good narrative also conceals entrenched hierarchies of protection that are aimed at keeping out the ‘outsider’ (read non-European). The brief will look at how institutionalised biases within EU’s decisionmaking process are changing the notion of the border in fundamental ways with enormous consequences for the rights of the vulnerable.