Solidarity in the European Union*

Andrea Sangiovanni

in Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588770
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741029 | DOI:

Series: Philosophical Foundations of Law

Solidarity in the European Union*

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This chapter reconstructs and criticizes three different arguments regarding how and whether solidarity, as a value, applies to the EU, and what implications each one has for our understanding of distributive justice beyond the state. The three arguments, in brief, are that: because the EU is a voluntary association, Member States should be held liable for the consequences of joining, and hence distributive justice concerns are irrelevant to its evaluation; the EU should be transformed into a federal welfare state in order to discharge obligations of “postnational” solidarity to the worst off individuals in the EU; and there are no obligations of solidarity across EU borders because the EU lacks an encompassing societal culture necessary for such obligations to apply. Although these three are the most promising arguments currently available for thinking about solidarity at the EU level, all of them are believed to fail. The chapter aims to demonstrate the need for more careful, philosophical reflection on one the most important of the fundamental values animating the European project.

Keywords: EU; solidarity; distributive justice; Member States; federal welfare state

Chapter.  15268 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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