The Future of Social Europe and of European Integration at a Crossroads: How Can We Recover and Enforce Solidarity as a Fundamental Principle of European Constitutional Law (or Die)?

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Table of Contents: I. A reference point in the crucial debate about social Europe. – II. Social Europe and European integration today: a worrying picture. – III. A constructive approach. – IV. Judicial enforcement of solidarity: possibilities and limitations. – V. Strengthening cooperation and synergies (il faut cultiver notre jardin). – VI. Non praevalebunt?

Abstract: This Dialogue is conceived as a conversation with Silvana Sciarra about the present crisis of social Europe and European integration, starting from the ideas she has proposed in her recent book Solidarity and Conflict. European Social Law in Crisis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018). A special focus is put on possible ways of restoring and enforcing solidarity as a fundamental principle of European Constitutional Law. After placing the book in context, including references to the current debate, we highlight Sciarra’s general approach towards the crisis of solidarity in the EU and point out her understanding of two main issues: the role played by Courts, especially Constitutional Courts; the potential role of cooperation and “synergies”, both at judicial and institutional level, both within and beyond the EU, in order to develop the social dimension of the integration process. In so doing, we also wish to contribute to such a debate. Finally, considering the growing risk of disintegration, we wonder if we are still in time to avoid a new European dark age, by applying Sciarra’s proposal as an antidote to “fears” and as a remedy which should lead to a reconciliation between the European project and the principles of social Constitutionalism. We conclude that policy makers should listen to her call to action and engage with no delay to achieve this absolutely primary objective.

Keywords: European Union – solidarity – crisis – synergies – Constitutional adjudication – institutional cooperation.

European Papers, Vol. 4, 2019, No 1, pp. 257-268
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/260

* Phd, Sant'Anna School of advanced studies, Pisa and former García Pelayo Research Fellow, Constitutional Law, Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, Madrid,
** Full Professor of Labour and Social Security Law, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Judge at the Constitutional Court of Spain,


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