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The Mutual Assistance and Solidarity Clauses

Legal and Political Challenges of an Integrated EU Security System


Antonio-Maria Martino

The Mutual Assistance and Solidarity Clauses is the first comprehensive comparative analysis of two major innovations introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. Antonio-Maria Martino’s study focuses on the origins, scope, interpretation and technical aspects of both clauses, with a particular focus on the Solidarity Clause. He highlights the overlap between both provisions and the wide range of competences theoretically conferred upon the Union by the Solidarity Clause. The author also presents a critical outline of the negotiations with regard to the new Joint Proposal on the implementation of the Solidarity Clause by the Union, which will set out the framework for EU action in the event of a solidarity case.
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II. Genesis


It was the Single European Act (SEA)12 which first explicitly referred to intra-European solidarity linked to the foreign policy area. The Preamble of the SEA asks the Member States to speak “with one voice” and “to act with consistency and solidarity”:

“AWARE of the responsibility incumbent upon Europe to aim at speaking ever increasingly with one voice and to act with consistency and solidarity in order more effectively to protect its common interests and independence, in particular to display the principles of democracy and compliance with the law and with human rights to which they are attached, so that together they may make their own contribution to the preservation of international peace and security in accordance with the undertaking entered into by them within the framework of the United Nations Charter, […].”13

The Treaty of Maastricht introduced the three-pillar structure of the Union. The Common Foreign and Security Policy was established as the second (intergovernmental) pillar of the EU. Foreign policy had always been and still is considered a bastion of national sovereignty and, therefore, intergovernmentalism was and – considering the current legal framework under the Lisbon Treaty – still is considered to be better suited to safeguarding national interests within this EU policy area.14 The Maastricht Treaty also further developed the concept of solidarity within the framework of foreign policy. Article J.1(4) asks the Member States to “support the Union’s external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and...

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