Understanding Solidarity within EU Law: An Analysis of the 'Islands of Solidarity' with Particular Regard to Monetary Union
34 Yearbook of European Law 2015, pp. 257-285
22 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2015 Last revised: 6 Apr 2016
Date Written: April 27, 2015
Solidarity has always been an important element of European integration law and with the Treaty of Lisbon this principle has received even more prominence. But what does this concept mean and how should it be implemented? Within several areas of European integration law, for example regional policy, asylum, development cooperation and economic and monetary Union, the principle of solidarity is regularly invoked when the existing law has to be interpreted or further developed. In this context it is striking to see how talk about solidarity is suited to stir up emotions, often associated with the fact, that each party understands something different by this expression. In this contribution an effort will be made to unearth the very foundations of solidarity as it applies in the law of the European Union. It will be shown that solidarity within EU law has a strong reciprocal (or mutualistic) nature. This means that contributions are given with the hope to receive some day counter-contributions or with the intent to pursue a common goal. Understood in this sense solidarity can be a useful instrument to further strengthen the European order. On the contrary, if this reciprocal context is left and solidarity is interpreted as an obligation for altruistic redistribution of resources on a regional or a global level (for example by creating a transfer union healing all budgetary sins by single Member States on a central level) the functionability and the basic consensus of European integration could be undermined.
Keywords: Solidarity; EU law; Monetary Union; Financial Crisis; Development cooperation; Asylum Policy; Principle of Reciprocity
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation