The increasing use and the significance attributed to solidarity in EU law clearly indicate the central role given to solidarity in the EU legal order. What are less clear are the legal nature and the implications of solidarity, which are at the heart of this chapter. Thus, while the growing importance of solidarity is visible, there has not been a clear proposition on how solidarity is to be understood in the array of different types of rules and legal sources of EU law. To address this question, this chapter, first considers what is meant by solidarity as a fundamental value of EU law. To that end, it looks into the role solidarity plays in the foundation of the Union, and also to the constitutional provisions where solidarity is placed. This is followed by a debate on the legal implications of solidarity in the EU legal order. After outlining what constitutes a general principle of EU law, the chapter examines whether solidarity constitutes – or can be defined as – a general principle of EU law. On the basis of the analysis provided, this chapter concludes that although solidarity is inherent in the EU legal order and constitutes a foundational value, it cannot (yet) be defined as a general principle of EU law.
Andrea Biondi, Eglė Dagilytė and Esin Küçük
The chapter introduces the book, Solidarity in EU Law: Legal Principle in the Making, highlighting the political, social and human rights background against which the concept of solidarity is gaining a more substantial role in shaping the European Union's legal order. It places the chapters of the book in context, serving as a point of reference to reflect upon the tribulations that European solidarity is likely to face in the future, including the aftermath of Brexit and challenges to the rule of law in the EU.