Solidarity is an awareness of shared interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies creating a psychological sense of unity of groups or classes. It refers to the ties in a society that bind people together as one and the concept is also one of six principles of The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Solidarity as attitude to life. In the organising world, Europe is living in social market economies, the main economic model used in Western and Northern Europe. The social market economy seeks a middle path between socialism and capitalism (i.e. a mixed economy) and aims at maintaining a balance between a high rate of economic growth, low inflation, low levels of unemployment, good working conditions, social welfare, and public services, by using state intervention. Basically respecting the free market, the social market economy is opposed to both a planned economy and laissez-faire capitalism.

Globalisation is an opportunity for economic and social progress and yet many citizens across the European Union apprehend it and tear its negative social impact. Solidarity and social rights are indivisible values on which the European Union is founded. Creating necessary conditions for citizens to make the most of the opportunities offered by globalisation, is therefore committed by policy makers and the Union.

If we look at the development of the eurozone in the past, we can draw two conclusions from our observations. The sovereign debt crisis has imparted a fresh thrust to the strengthening of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), fostering the kind of progress that would have been unthinkable until only shortly before the crisis. Yet despite this progress, the crisis has worsened over time because the responses adopted have been both belated and insufficient.


solidarity diamond


EMILE DURKHEIM | THE IRREPLACEBLE ROLE THAT SOLIDARITY PLAYS IN OUR SOCIETIES (Michael Sandel) | solidarity in contemporary times | EMU SOLIDARITY MECHANISMS | SOLIDARITY and CRISIS (covid-19, euro, anti-communist opposition)


What forms the basis of solidarity varies between societies. In some less complex societies it may be mainly based around kinship and shared values. In more complex societies there are various theories as to what contributes the sense of social solidarity. Emile Durkheim introduced the terms "mechanical" and "organic" solidarity as part of his theory of the development of societies. In a society exhibiting mechanical solidarity, its cohesion and integration comes from homogeneity of individuals - people feel connected through similar work, educational and religious training, and lifestyle. Mechanical solidarity normally operates in "traditional" and small scale societies. Organic solidarity comes from the interdependence that arises from specialization of work and the complementarities between people - a development which occurs in "modern" and "industrial" societies.


In 2013, Michael Sandel, a key thinkers on communitarianism and long-time associate of the IWM (Institut für die Wisschenschaften vom Menschen), gave a lecture in memory of the IWM's founding rector Krzysztof Michalski in 2013, which reflects on the irreplaceable role that solidarity plays in our societies.

Sandel discusses the modern reservations about Solidarity, and considers the obligations (and limits of the obligations) we owe each other. He recalled Solidarity’s heyday in the 1980s, with an encyclical from John Paul II that treated the subject, as well as the works of philosopher priest Józef Stanisław Tischner. “How times have changed,” Sandel said. “In recent years, solidarity has been in retreat, in theory and in practice. In fact, today Solidarity has a quaint, almost archaic ring.”

“The suspicion of Solidarity that flows from an argument of moral philosophy rests on the idea that all obligations that count morally and civically must spring form an act of will, of one kind or another,” he said – yet “certain obligations may claim us, unrelated to a choice or act of will.” The moral force of the Solidarity vision may define who we are as well as allowing us embrace each other as fellow citizens, and accept the responsibility for actions of the distant past as well as the present. He suggests the “spiritual resonance” of Solidarity for these important Polish religious and moral leaders may rest on the understanding that everything that matters is not traceable to individual will or freedom.


  solidarity in contemporary times
From an expression expressing brotherhood between human beings, "solidarity" has become the key to the survival of the species!

Brussels, August 1, 2022, Paul N. Goldschmidt

What a magic word! It immediately arouses a warm feeling of belonging, benevolence, good conscience, commitment by encouraging the surpassing of oneself and implies a will to act towards a shared objective that transcends individual interests. A distinction must be made between its idealized form, which belongs more to the philosophical or religious spheres, and its pragmatic form, which concerns its implementation.
"Idealized" solidarity is thus interwoven with the confrontation of moral values or legal norms such as "good and evil", "individual versus collective rights", or even refers to ethical or religious precepts such as "do not do unto others what you would not like them to do to you", "love your neighbor as yourself" or the recital of the "Beatitudes", etc.
In its application this level of generality is rarely encountered as it often comes up against conflicts of interest or indifference; it can come close, however, when it is a question of confronting an event with a strong emotional charge for which it is difficult to establish a specific chain of responsibility between cause and effect. Until recently, this was particularly  the case for the solidarity that arose regularly from so-called "natural" disasters; however, since knowledge of global warming has identified their causes, they can now give rise to violent confrontations of interests that weaken the "solidarity" indispensable to overcome the urgent problem of dealing with this global challenge.
The same event can generate simultaneously solidarity, indifference or opposition. For  example, Ukraine, the undisputed victim of an unprovoked aggression, has aroused the "unanimous" solidarity of the EU; however, the latter is not only divided by opposing interests between Member States, but also by fractures within them where political parties, economic sectors and social classes pursue conflicting agendas. Similarly, at the global level, civilizational or cultural traditions as well as geostrategic or economic interests relegate solidarity - whether moral or legal - to a useful accessory for those who claim it, easily yielding to the demands of "real politiek" or the comfort of indifference (see the votes at the UN General Assembly).

To deserve the label of "solidarity", an action must be independent of - but not necessarily contrary to - the interests of those who support it. It is obvious that a conjunction between solidarity and interests - as in Ukraine - makes the action more appealing; it is in the identification and promotion of this conjunction that the exemplarity of the leaders, called upon to support such actions, lies.

Thus, a Ukrainian defeat would threaten the very survival of the EU's democratic regimes and the civilizational values that have been painstakingly built up over the centuries within its Members. Their preservation is immeasurably more valuable than the sacrifices demanded of the population in terms of purchasing power, (temporary) restrictions and other inconveniences that may go even as far as requiring direct military intervention, justifying thereby unreservedly the solidarity effort required.
The call for solidarity must be handled with great caution, especially when it seems to contradict proven short-term interests; transparency of the possible harmful short term consequences is essential to obtain the assent of public opinion. Properly informed, the public will be much more inclined to give their support - out of solidarity - than to oppose it. There is, however, a major obstacle to overcome in order to restore the credibility of the public authority's narrative after years of neglect and confusion. This situation is skillfully exploited by the opposition: it conceals the tragic consequences of a denial of solidarity, presented under the guise of a policy of defense of the citizen's immediate vital interests. This is notably the position of political parties such as the RN or LFI in France, the Ligua or Forza Italia in Italy, which criticize the sanctions against Russia and advocate their removal. In so doing they contribute significantly to weakening the EU and allow Putin to reach his primary objective.
The latest reports suspecting Russian complicity in the downfall of President Draghi are chilling and should be a wake-up call. Indeed, as far as Ukraine is concerned, the interests of each Member State, implied by their adhesion to the treaty, coincide by construction with those of the EU; if this were not/no longer the case, the Member in question should avail itself of Article 50 of the treaty to leave the EU. On the other hand, their continued membership is a recognition that no particular "national" interest can justify a lack of solidarity both among its Members and with Ukraine. The unfortunate abuse of finicky legal arguments under the Treaty, such as the unanimity rule for voting on sanctions, only weakens the Union's position in the geopolitical arena, increases its strategic vulnerability and renders the very concept of solidarity meaningless.

The ramifications of the war in Ukraine have demonstrated its global effects, be they economic, financial, military, social or, more fundamentally, political and geostrategic:  major powers have now clearly stated as their priority, the establishment of a new world order based on their own authoritarian models

However, it should be manifest that any attempt to impose a new world order can only be based on the concept of "solidarity" in its most universalist sense.

Every human being should subscribe to this self-interested imperative, if only to ensure the very survival of the planet threatened with total destruction, whether by global warming brought about by unbridled human activity or by the arsenal of nuclear weapons whose use is synonymous with Armageddon.
This observation excludes, by construction, the tolerance of a conflict opposing head-on the supporters of the status quo and emerging authoritarian regimes. The main difficulty stems from the incompatibility of the value systems of the two sides, which reinforces the risk of total mutual destruction in the event of war. The game of (nuclear) chicken, currently being played out, risks to run out of control at any moment with irretrievable consequences.
Another fundamental obstacle derives from the unprecedented technical progress in communications (both real and fake) that has spread awareness across the globe of the profound inequalities between and within populations; while they have always existed, their worldwide visibility now makes them unbearable.
The survival of the planet therefore urgently requires the establishment of a "SOLIDARITY" world order to which all are called to contribute. At the top of the agenda must be the definitive and controlled elimination of nuclear arsenals and an acceptable distribution of efforts to limit global warming. Without this precondition, we will be leaving our heirs a globe with a burning fuse that could explode at any moment.
The necessary readjustment of the world order implies inescapable sacrifices, especially for the developed countries, which will have to accept a smaller share of global resources, not to eliminate the inequalities that are inherent in human nature, but to ensure greater social justice and the preservation of the human species. In reality, these adjustments should be largely offset and cushioned by the continuous evolution of knowledge as well as the pursuit of innovation and development of skills. While the older generation which holds power and owns wealth today may be scared by this announced upheaval, numerous signs show that its younger upcoming successors are both better prepared if not eager to meet the challenge. We should not be allowed to deprive them from the opportunity to try through our lack of "solidarity".
But it is not primarily through a transfer of wealth that a new harmonious relationship can be gradually established between people. It should be recognized that the Western value system has consistently demonstrated for the past 500 years its unique capacity - compared with any other system - despite its profound failings and injustices, to provide for man's material needs and in particular to adapt to the demographic explosion of the species. In order to give ourselves the best possible means to meet the colossal challenge that lies ahead, it appears logical as well as sound to build on this system as the basis to carry out the profound unavoidable transformation of society. Only then can the specter of the disappearance of the human race be averted.


Solidarity is often - even within the EU - coupled with conditionality. The conditional-of serves two, partly conflicting goals:

1. to make sure that the auxiliary is used as effectively as possible, and
the help discourage the risk of moral hazard limit. And coordination is needed to certain risks or undesirable to reduce differences within the group.

The Maastricht Treaty provided for EMU solidarity mechanisms (the Fund) of coordination requirements (no excessive deficits) and a no bail-out clause to strengthen fiscal discipline. As is well known that discipline proved ineffective. That was partly undermined by financial markets for years hardly differed between the bonds of eurozone countries. This "piggybacking" of countries with high debt ratio would have a form of implicit call to solidarity - with the long term adverse effects.

After the outbreak of the crisis, the EU Member States and the Eurozone with the new emergency funds, not previously provided mechanisms for inter-state solidarity should create. They were thereby driven by enlightened self-interest: the prevention of further spread of the debt crisis. But the authors find that not a good diagnosis of the crisis was made because some system causes about being overlooked.

The first stems from the fact that the EMU debt issued in a currency which it does not have full control (a point which Paul de Grauwe previously noted). That makes a liquidity problem can quickly degenerate into a solvency problem.
The second system cause has to do with inadequate banking supervision at EU level.
And actually, the political leaders not fulfilled their promise that they would do everything necessary to default by a Member State and breakup of the eurozone to avoid. The emergency funds are therefore not large enough and effective enough usable.

Fernandes and Rubio advocate the following forms of solidarity. In the short term is important because of enlightened self interest, the bond markets of EMU countries to stabilize and growth recovery in the peripheral EMU countries. For quick stabilization of the bond are two options: a massive intervention by the ECB (acting as lender of last resort would act) or the introduction of cross-guarantees by the Member States of the euro area in the context of Eurobonds . On balance it seems preferable to theauthors proceed to (a temporary system) Eurobonds. Previously, a group of ELEC (the European League of Economic Cooperation) recently proposed that in this study is not known but on the EBN website can be found.

How can growth recovery in the peripheral EMU countries be promoted? Structural reforms are therefore important, but these often take time to bear fruit. In the short term, additional growth impetus. Strong EMU countries would therefore not have to economize now. Furthermore, the access of peripheral countries to the available structural and cohesion funds should be increased (as in the AIV advisory letter to a strengthened financial and economic governance in the EU advocates).

In the short term aid - whether in the form of guarantees - badly. Who does not 'transfer union' will, to invest in a better policy coordination in EMU. That is the challenge for the longer term. To increase the resilience of EMU strengthening, do the authors propose a more effective use of structural and cohesion funds for a permanent system of Eurobonds for an EMU-wide insurance for bank deposits and a provision for the EMU is to be in exceptional circumstances to a joint commitment of budgetary resources.

Rightly, the study concludes that the European debt crisis, no magic, free solution has. The next time a special use of non-reciprocal solidarity necessary for EMU to bring back into safe waters. But apart from this crisis, the EMU needs to create mechanisms for solidarity - not a transfer union to create, but as mutual guarantee against risks.


'Gold standard' for social investment in human capital must assume, based on a substantial expansion of cross-border programs for education and training. An annual investment of 40 to 50 billion (0.3 percent of GDP in the EU) would 4-5000000 cross 'placements' (full-and part-time) per year could bring. This would create a European labor market, with the necessary cross-border mobility can be encouraged. The training programs may all be directed at removing bottlenecks in labor markets. The authors find a strong commitment of the EU justified because of the significant external effects of education and training are linked. A subsidiarity test would such an EU policy eyes higher throw than the current agricultural policy. This interesting proposal of Rossi and Her deserves further elaboration and consideration.




Countries in Europe have been affected by COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus responsible for the 2019–20 pandemic first recorded in Wuhan, China. As of 17 March 2020, all countries within Europe had a confirmed case of COVID-19. Europe was considered the active centre of COVID-19 according to the World Health Organization as of 13 March 2020. There is however, lack of EU solidarity.

The European Commission stated:

"When Europe really needed to be there for each other, too many initially looked out for themselves. When Europe really needed an all for one spirit, too many initially gave an only for me response".


a museum to promote awareness of the Solidarity movement, the anti-communist opposition in

and Europe, and a centre for dialogue
about the contemporary world


The Bertelsmann Stiftung discusses the social dimension of the new European economic governance through essays. European Movement Netherlands summarized the essays as follows: in 'Solidarity for Sale?' it is sketched that social policies by increasing financial discipline within the EU can come in a fix. They emphasize that there is a shared interest in well-functioning, efficient systems of public services at national level - both in terms of social inclusion as macroeconomic stability in the eurozone. This can be expressed in a 'Social Investment Pact' to complement the Euro Plus Pact. Both in national budgets as in the EU budget should be given sufficient priority to investing in people, from preschool education to sustainable employability of older people.

The most interesting is the contribution of Kalypso Nicolaïdis and Juri Viehoff (both working in Oxford) on 'sustainable solidarity' in Europe after the crisis. They dissect the concept of solidarity. It is to start a hybrid concept that both observable social behavior as the normative basis sure can describe. Solidarity is about the relations between (groups of) people, but from behavior alone can not establish whether there is an expression of solidarity.

The authors propose solidarity emphatically not the same as altruism, but places it in a.tension between, on the one axis, self-interest and community thinking, and along the other axis, political commitment and altruism. Relations of solidarity contribute to the regulatory elements of each of these four explanations in themselves. Solidarity in the EU/ euro area see it primarily as a matter of a bit wider and longer-term perspective of their own interests, they will see on the highest economic benefits for the various national interests in the short term.

A key question is topical: we are genuinely interested in the future prosperity of other EU countries, including Greece? And we're able to - non-prescribed but not free - solidarity also well organized in a Union of 27 Member States? How does (in solidarity) to the EU Member States, each of which a 'community solidarity' forms? The authors emphasize that even within Member States solidarity must undergo several steps of scaling to social justice at national level to achieve. Thus, they consider the extent to which a (single) step can be further put to the institutionalization of solidarity, especially as an empirical matter. Nicolaïdis and Viehoffconclude their contribution with four principles for action:

1. Solidarity viewed from a long-term perspective on the sustainability of the European project (and not as a temporary solution);
2. Europe is a Union, no unity, and the EU based on mutual recognition and justification;
3. Solidarity is conditional, depending on the use to which the receiving party makes of them;
4. Solidarity can not be enforced, but is a choice - and that goes for institutionalization of solidarity within the EU.

"Solidarity in the European Union must rest on Institutions that ensure its constantly renewed and fairness to all sides. The choice for sustainable Solidarity is at That price ".

Andrew Watt (researcher at the European Trade Union Institute) takes as its starting point that issues of competitiveness and resulting government debt "symmetric", and therefore also symmetrical adjustments by deficit and surplus countries questions. It is certainly in the interest of surplus countries to promote the necessary changes in the deficit countries as far and as fast as possible in an environment of growth can take place. But in doing it better fits the image of panning left behind than of leveling to an average for Europe in the global economy does not help.

Gordon Bajnaj (Prime Minister of Hungary 2009-2010) places the current crisis in Europe or in the context of globalization. This necessitates adjustment of the European 'earnings'. Europe is facing five challenges: lower growth, reverse social mobility, intergenerational conflict, populism, protectionism, isolationism, nationalism, and global power shifts. And Europe is vulnerable because halfhearted, half thought, half explained that integration is therefore halfway continue stabbing. Bajnaj calls for further integration, agile to respond to economic challenges and to ensure continuity, to counterbalance the short-winded political cycles in the States. That does require strengthening the democratic legitimacy of decision-making (how, exactly, remains vague).

With the economic and financial crisis having hit European countries in different ways since 2008, the EU is considering how far each country is responsible and what kind of solidarity is needed to overcome this challenge. Europeans have hastily set up solidarity mechanisms that their monetary union was lacking. Questions about legitimacy and the limits of European solidarity are now very much being asked out in the open. They are all the more crucial as they generate tensions in national public opinions and among European political decision-makers. These tensions are not just about macroeconomic issues but have recently been about solidarity mechanisms put in place in the “Schengen area” and also relate to the different extents of the other EU interventions, such as in the area of agriculture or energy. Notre Europe, the Paris thinktank, published an interesting and actual study on solidarity within the Eurozone: ' Solidarity within the Eurozone: how much, what for, for how long?'