Solidarity, although widely used in EU legislation and the early jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), lacks a clear meaning. It appears as an amorphous concept whose contours change depending on the legal areas and the actors involved, and which generates differing levels of commitment. This chapter explores the attributes common to the different expressions of solidarity as a binding legal obligation in order to develop European solidarity as an integrated concept. It examines the meaning and boundaries of solidarity by focusing on the reasons that generate solidarity obligations under the EU Treaties and by analysing the case law where the CJEU has drawn on solidarity or could have drawn on it, but decided not to do so. The chapter concludes that while different aspects of solidarity are embodied in EU legislation, the concept has normative force mainly when it is driven by self-interest in a reciprocal relationship. Although references have been made to its ethical underpinnings, in the absence of a reciprocal return, the normative premises of solidarity have remained weak.
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.