European Election Issues: Solidarity

Posted on Thursday, 25 June 2009

Solidarity was at the core of the establishment of the European Union which also sought to promote pluralism, non-discrimination and tolerance. These were seen as promoting human dignity, freedom, democracy and respect for human rights.

A key dimension of solidarity at the EU level concerns social protection and social inclusion.  More than 80 million people in the EU were at risk of poverty before the recent economic crisis.  We deal with poverty issues separataely in this series.  But there are other aspects to solidarity in the EU. 
Solidarity among EU States
Structural funds and cohesion funds were put in place as a concrete symbol of solidarity between the richer and poorer regions of the EU.  Ireland benefited enormously from these funds and much of the country’s infrastructure was part-funded at least through these funds.

With the expansion of the Union to 27 countries it is very important that the regional disparities, which have increased enormously, are addressed with sustained and well-resourced action. 

Solidarity with the wider world
Looking beyond the EU’s borders the Union’s solidarity should be expressed with policies that promote peace, human rights and democratic development. 

In practice this would require Europe to use its huge economic, political and scientific capacities to promote just and collaborative international relations.  It has used its resources to promote positive development across the EU. It should do the same across the planet which has so many people in great need.

Policy Initiatives
It is very important that all EU policies including trade, agriculture and fiscal policies should support the aims of moving the world towards zero poverty while protecting the world’s environment.

  • Promote financial transparency and tax justice so as to avoid capital flight and tax evasion.
  • Ensure that all EU trade policies are oriented towards poverty reduction and environmental protection in the EU and across the world.