Chapter

The concept of solidarity in the European integration discourse

Józef Niżnik

in Reinventing Social Solidarity Across Europe

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9781847427274
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305552 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847427274.003.0002
The concept of solidarity in the European integration discourse

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The chapter is devoted to the concept of solidarity and its role in the discourse about European integration. The concept of solidarity appeared as the central organising element within the Schuman declaration (9th May, 1950) forming the basis of the European Union as we know it today. ‘Solidarity’ remains an important term in the description of European integration but its meaning is subject to change over time depending on the political context. According to this chapter, the term has currently ceased to be one of those crucial elements that serve as organizing units of the discourse and has been replaced in this role by other terms; most recently by the concept of democracy. The chapter characterises the nature of tension between these two ideas – solidarity and democracy – and tries to explain the reasons that led to their clash. Referring to the most recent changes in the European integration discourse, and re-appearance of ‘solidarity’ in the new context, it tries to reconstruct the current meanings of the concept of solidarity in order to estimate its potential, which could be instrumental for a much-needed reorientation of the European integration process.

Keywords: solidarity; integration; democracy; Europe; discourse; Schumann; Union

Chapter.  4519 words. 

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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