The Europeans Union (EU) has been as divisive as much as it has brought Europe together. Opinion polls within counties such as the UK have shown that the EU is unpopular (YouGov 2011). Yet, the EU has opened up territorial borders, and united Europe within one monetary bloc. Euroscepticism is a wide-ranging belief encompassing any criticism of the EU (McCormick 2011). It criticises both the structure and the policies of the EU. Solidarity is the concept that there is a cultural homogeneity within a certain group of people (Jary and Jary 2000). Solidarity is ‘situated … at the crossroads between ‘liberty’ and ‘equality’, between ‘self-interest’ and ‘altruism’.’ (Ferrera 2008) ...view middle of the document...
There are legal, foreign policy, monetary and welfare elements of sovereignty, and each will be addressed within this section of the essay.
Solidarity has always been a binding element within the EU. ‘Solidarity’ appears within the Maastricht treaty (1992), and the European Act (1986). Within the Treaty of Lisbon, the preamble commits the EU to, ‘promote … solidarity among Member States.’ (2007) Scattered throughout other treaties and protocols is the notion of solidarity, and member state solidarity permeates through many European Institutions. Within the EU, the notion of member state solidarity advocates a high level of internal cohesion. It is described as the ‘value binding together member states and as a value binding together the citizens of each and every member state.’ (Sangiovanni 2013) This institutional and statutory framework of solidarity throughout the EU provides a backdrop on which both member state solidarity, and transnational solidarity can be further developed.
Solidarity is also evident within the foreign policy actions taken by the EU. The EU unites behind a single foreign policy for many international organisations and meetings. It almost has full rights at the G8, as it does not have the right to host or chair a summit (European Union 2007). The EU also attends the WTO, ASEAN, and many other international organisations as a single entity, with a singe foreign policy stance. A former Deputy Secretary General to the United Nations believes that the European Commission will represent the entire European Union at the United Nations in the foreseeable future (Spongenberg 2006). Intense political negotiations are required to bring about a unitary position on foreign policy (Ital 2010). In a complex balancing act, permanent negotiations are required to consider member states interests, whilst maintaining solidarity (Rummel and Weidemann 1998). These negotiations occur within the Council of the European Union. Unanimous agreement is required for any major decision. Once these decisions are made, further qualifications can be made by qualified majority voting. This illustrates a high level of member state solidarity, as 28 nations are uniting behind a common foreign and security policy (CFSP). The fact that 28 individual nation-states can agree on such a complex policy area as foreign policy illustrates that solidarity is possible beyond the nation-state.
The monetary system of the European Union also shows how member state solidarity is evident. Issing argued that true solidarity within the Eurozone would involve ‘all of the countries concerned … comply[ing] with the fundamental rules of [European Monetary Union]’, rather then a ‘common eurozone bond’ (2009)
Moreover, within the European Union, the Common Market has allowed for member state solidarity to develop.
Furthermore, an institutionalised form of solidarity can be seen in the European ‘welfare state’ which Ferrera says ‘connotes a particular set of ties among the...