Transnational solidarity: a transformative narrative for the EU and its citizens?


Empirical studies provide increasingly powerful evidence of solidarity in Europe, although attitudes and practices vary across States and policies, are often conditional and face problems of durability. Solidarity is strongest in national or local settings and typically manifests political activity, especially in relation to countering social inequalities. This article focuses on the implications of these findings for the EU, a transnational community seemingly disconnected from its citizens and now discussing its future orientation. It is argued that the ‘soft’ power of transnational solidarity needs nurturing for the EU to enhance its relevance, legitimacy and resilience. Member State solidarity and EU institutional design have hitherto proved weak in delivering meaningful social measures or in elaborating European citizenship beyond market-related paradigms. Any sustainable transformative step requires refocusing upon a ‘horizontal’ solidarity among citizens across borders to reboot and articulate ‘social integration’. This necessitates reframing the relationship between political and legal narratives. The legal paradigm has hitherto favoured top-down notions of rights-based EU citizenship over solidarity as a principle or standard. This article develops a notion of transnational solidarity by connecting the factual potency of solidarity as felt by citizens to the underpinning strategies of a resilient governance framework to capture it.

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Ross, M. Transnational solidarity: a transformative narrative for the EU and its citizens?. Acta Polit (2020).

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  • Solidarity
  • Transnational
  • EU citizenship
  • Resilience