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The Mutual Assistance and Solidarity Clauses

Legal and Political Challenges of an Integrated EU Security System

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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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VII. Relation between Article 42(7) TEU and Article 222 TFEU

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The Mutual Assistance Clause foresees that, if a Member State suffers armed aggression on its territory, its partners have an obligation to provide aid and assistance “by all their means in their power”, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter. Article 42(7) TEU introduces an intergovernmental obligation for the Member States to provide aid and assistance on a national basis. It is, in the end, the individual Member State who decides how to provide assistance260. The Solidarity Clause is supranational in its remit and brings in a common obligation of the Union and the Member States. Contrary to the Solidarity Clause, the Mutual Assistance Clause only applies after armed aggression has taken place. No preventive elements can be derived from Article 42(7) TEU. The relationship between both clauses becomes, therefore, only relevant when a terrorist attack has taken place on the territory of a Member State.

There appear to be both clear differences and confusing similarities between the two Clauses. Differences are, among other things, that Article 42(7) applies to situations of ‘armed aggression’ against the territory of a Member State and is, therefore, geographically more limited than the Solidarity Clause. The Mutual Assistance Clause is purely intergovernmental in character and does not confer any role on the Union. An activation of Article 42(7) TEU does not require political coordination at the EU level261. “These differences should not obscure similarities between the two clauses, however. Both introduce binding commitments amongst...

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