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Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union

From the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis, the State of the Art


Edited By Alessandra Silveira, Mariana Canotilho and Pedro Madeira Froufe

This book attempts to address an important question: where is the European project going?
As Europe struggles with the most profound economic and social crises in recent history, what happens to the promises of freedom, democracy, equality and respect for the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person proclaimed in the Preamble of the Treaty on European Union? How does the European Union intend to demonstrate its commitment to fundamental social rights at a time of widespread deregulation and an increasingly precarious labour market? How can we further enhance the democratic and efficient functioning of European institutions when there is a growing distance between citizens and political elites?
This publication is based on papers given at the international conference «Citizenship and Solidarity in the European Union – from the Charter of Fundamental Rights to the Crisis: The State of the Art», which took place in the School of Law at the University of Minho, Portugal, in May 2012. The line-up of contributors includes scholars from southern and northern Europe and Brazil, and together the papers constitute a lively and productive debate about the future of Europe.
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Democracy, Solidarity and Crisis. Some Reflections on the State of Europe (Emilios Christodoulidis)



University of Glasgow

We are invited to think about the European Union in the throes of crisis; or perhaps, from a legal-theoretical point of view, through the prism of crisis. What does “citizenship and solidarity” mean in the current moment? What democracy? And how does the current crisis in the Eurozone, from which we appear incapable of emerging, help us to think about solidarity and democracy?

So let us begin with crisis, and take it seriously, not, that is, as the opportunity it is with increasing frequency referred to, opportunity to “get our house in order”, or more grandly to rethink European citizenship, but as the human catastrophe it has visited to the people in the Southern States of Europe, and as a Greek citizen speaking in Portugal, this appears to me to have a double resonance. “Greece heading for a clash with its lenders” read the Editorial of the Financial Times the morning of this lecture, as Greek stocks fell to a 20 year low in the wake of the inconclusive Greek election. The unlikely recipient of the mandate to form a government, the young Euro-communist leader Alexis Tsipras, suggested that the Greek vote had declared the “barbarous austerity programme” imposed on the Greeks “null and void”. If in government, he said, his party would abandon the bailout agreement, default on the debt, or at least call a moratorium on repayment, reverse the appalling recent labour reforms, and put the banking...

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