Chapter 8: Conclusion: the entangled paths towards European solidarity
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European solidarity is a multifaceted and dynamic phenomenon that requires careful analysis and assessment. Chapter 8 portrays the complex and fluid nature of European solidarity by developing an integrated account of findings presented in the previous chapters in this book. It argues that European solidarity is a much more contested and fragile phenomenon when compared to the situation at the national level. The principle of solidarity inspires the Treaties of the European Union, but it is weakly entrenched in European legislation; civil society organisations are committed to sustaining solidarity within their immediate environment, but they are limited in their ability to establish cross-national platforms and patterns of work; European citizens are engaged in solidarity practices towards fellow Europeans, but more citizens tend to prioritize other targets; and proponents of European solidarity do influence public discourses within the mass media, but this solidarity is exposed to substantial public contestation within the public sphere. In spite of these limitations, European solidarity is firmly rooted within European societies, given that it complements national and local forms of solidarity. The chapter argues that European solidarity has been gaining momentum since the late 2000s, but that it requires social, political and legal support in order to subsist regressive tendencies.