Solidarity in EU Law
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Solidarity in EU Law

Legal Principle in the Making

Edited by Andrea Biondi, Eglė Dagilytė and Esin Küçük

The European Union has evolved from a purely economic organisation to a multi-faceted entity with political, social and human rights dimensions. This has created an environment in which the concept of solidarity is gaining a more substantial role in shaping the EU legal order. This book provides both a retrospective assessment and an outlook on the future possibilities of solidarity’s practical and theoretical meaning and legal enforcement in the ever-changing Union.
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Chapter 2: Typologies of solidarity in EU law: a non-shifting landscape in the wake of economic crises

Pieter Van Cleynenbreugel


Although the founding European Union Treaties consistently refer to solidarity as one of the central values underlying European integration, the concept of solidarity remains undefined and under-theorised in EU constitutional law. Different conceptions of solidarity can therefore simultaneously be – and have effectively been – read into the EU Treaty framework. This chapter identifies and structures these conceptions and re-evaluates their relevance and co-existence in the aftermath of the economic and financial crises. The first part of this chapter provides a genealogy of EU solidarity categories. Those categories exemplify the fragmented and potentially conflicting solidarity values presently underlying EU primary law. Four categories will be distinguished: liberalising, redistributive, constitutive and administrative solidarity. Whilst liberalising and redistributive conceptions in principle promote substantive economic and social solidarity among Member States, citizens and the peoples of Europe, constitutive and administrative solidarity categories project an image of transnational solidarity most directly aimed at Member States’ interactions. The second part applies the identified solidarity categories to EU financial and sovereign debt crisis governance. It argues that recent EU initiatives to restore confidence in markets most readily adhere to administrative solidarity, whilst seemingly downplaying more substantive solidarity discussions. In doing so, post-crisis governance has missed significant opportunities to redesign and develop an upgraded and less fragmented substantive solidarity framework reflected throughout EU law.

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