Solidarity as a Normative Principle
The Preamble of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights states that the Union, is grounded on "the indivisible and universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity; (...) the principles of democracy and the rule of law", placing "the individual at the heart of its action by establishing the citizenship of the Union and creating an area of freedom, security and justice (...)." This institution, created to "promote balanced and sustainable development", is today looking for a more secure future and a stronger glue.
Of all the values on which it is founded, solidarity appears to be the most ethereal, in some ways the most equivocal, even though it can boast, like the others, an august tradition. Its meaning has been the most changeable and certainly the most abused: on this expression, or on similar expressions, the tables of individual freedoms and fascist corporatism, liberal constitutions and the Nazi regime, the Christian spirit of brotherly love and socialist humanism have at various times been built.
Given its ductility, some scholars have come to the conclusion that "solidarity" is a useless or dangerous concept. But this argument is not conclusive. Solidarity is not only a value-principle endowed with philosophical and moral significance, it is also a value-principle with legal content, and therefore perceptive and instrumental to the realisation of social ends.
Decoding solidarity, in order to fully understand its potentialities, misrepresentations and mystifications has therefore become, today more than ever, a task entrusted to jurists -- a difficult task, since we are all aware that that value is based on a utopia, as Stefano Rodotà emphasised, albeit a necessary one. This is why solidarity, with respect for private autonomy and collective interests, must today be "reinvented".
A sandwich lunch will be available from 12.30 outside the main entrance to the IECL.