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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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The principle of solidarity is a fundamental principle of the European Union and references to ‘solidarity’ can be found in various provisions in the EU Treaties. The Treaty of Lisbon introduces a new provision, the ‘Solidarity Clause’, which obliges the Union and its Member States to act in a spirit of solidarity in the event of a terrorist attack, a natural or a man-made disaster. It should also enable the Union to prevent and respond to terrorist threats by mobilising all the necessary military and civil instruments.

Long before formal discussions within EU Council structures, the legal and political challenges of this new provision were discussed within an informal group composed of high-level officials of the Ministries of the Interior and Justice of several Member States. The ‘Strategic Circle Internal Security’, founded in 2010 on an initiative of the Austrian delegation in the Art. 71 TFEU Committee (COSI), paved the way for formal discussions within Council structures. These formal discussions started in 2011 and aimed at preparing the drafting of the proposal for a Council decision on the implementation by the Union of the Solidarity Clause. In 2014 this proposal, which was jointly submitted by the Commission and the High Representative, will be adopted by the Council.

I have been lucky enough to be involved in the discussions on the interpretation of Article 222 TFEU from the very beginning, which inspired me to write my Master’s thesis on the Solidarity Clause and the thematically...

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