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 4: Solidarity: a general principle of EU law? Two variations on the solidarity theme

Eglė Dagilytė


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.

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