Legal and Political Challenges of an Integrated EU Security System
IX. Concluding Remarks
The Mutual Assistance Clause and the Solidarity Clause are similar and at the same time quite diverse provisions. They are similar because both regulations are binding on all Member States who are obliged to act in a spirit of solidarity and their scope is, in principle, sufficiently broad and flexible to generate possible overlaps. Both Clauses do not limit the assistance nor the means that can be applied to assist the affected Member State(s). Despite these similarities they are separate in legal terms as the one Clause has a clear intergovernmental background whereas the other is supranational. Certainly, the supranationality of the Solidarity Clause does not prevent it from potentially extending its scope to clearly intergovernmental areas such as defence and foreign policy. The intergovernmentalism of the Mutual Assistance Clause is absolute as no involvement of Union institutions is foreseen, whereas with respect to the Solidarity Clause the Union is not only a direct addressee of the solidarity obligation but has also a role (though a marginal one) as regards the Member States’ efforts in providing support to the affected Member State(s). Non-compliance with the obligation to assist arising out of Article 42(7) TEU does not result in any legal consequences. What is more, mandatory assistance only binds the Member States which are also NATO members, whereas the neutral and non-aligned Member States are by and large (but not completely, as outlined above) exempted from any obligation to assist. The Member State(s) that decide...
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