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Democracy versus Solidarity in the EU Discourse


Jozef Niznik

It is hard to find another two concepts which would be more significant in the European integration discourse than «democracy» and «solidarity» and at the same time more ambiguous in the political practice of integration. Currently European integration discourse is being organized around the concept of democracy. Analyzing European integration discourse the author argues that the situation is quite paradoxical because in order to secure democracy in the EU, European integration discourse must be organized not around the concept of democracy but around the concept of solidarity. The book attempts to show in more details the context of the clash of these fundamental values which serve also as the leading political principles of European integration. Therefore several further concepts and problems have been discussed such as the issue of identity, the concept of citizenship and the problem of nationalism. Since the theoretical framework of the analysis have been built around the idea of discourse the inevitable consequence was to look at some aspects of communication and the links between conceptual and normative development of the European integration.


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Chapter II: European integration and the concept of solidarity


Chapter II European integration and the concept of solidarity The current chapter is devoted to the concept of solidarity and its role in the European integration discourse. The concept of solidarity – applied to relations among European states – made an appearance already in the Schuman Declara- tion in which it served as one of the organizing elements of the discourse constituted by this declaration. “Solidarity” has remained an important term in the description of the aims of European integration since then, but its meaning has been changing over time depending on the context. Solidarity of states may imply the responsibility of each state for the security of other states or for their well-being; well-being may refer to the standard of living or to the quality of the natural environment or even to the satisfaction of people with the domestic politics of their nation-state. The last example might be somehow confusing, though. Currently the term “solidarity” has ceased to be one of those crucial ele- ments that serve as organizing units of the discourse, and it has been replaced in this role by other terms; most recently by the concept of democracy. I am trying to characterize the nature of the tension between those two ideas – solidarity and democracy – and to explain the reasons which led to their clash. Referring to the most recent changes in the European integration discourse, and the re- appearance of “solidarity” in the new context, I will attempt to reconstruct the current meanings of the concept of...

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