Prof. Jürgen Gerhards, Institute of Sociology, Freie Universität Berlin
How Strong is European Solidarity in Times of Crisis? Insights from a 13-Country Survey
In recent years, a series of crises have hit the European Union (i.e., the Eurozone crisis, the sovereign debt crises, the Great Recession, the refugee crisis, Brexit). Such precarious times have challenged solidarity both between European citizens, as well as between the Member States of the EU. The talk investigates the degree of European solidarity in the European Union in the light of these developments and describes the findings of a recent research project conducted on European solidarity. We surveyed citizens of 13 Members States of the EU about their disposition toward European solidarity.
Overall, our analyses reveal some unanticipated findings. Europeans altogether display a notably higher level of solidarity with citizens of other EU countries and EU states than many politicians and social scientists have so far presumed. This especially applies to the support of people in need (welfare state solidarity) and the reduction of wealth inequalities between rich and poor European countries (territorial solidarity), but also to the domain of fiscal solidarity. However, this optimistic view is less valid for the domain of solidarity with refugees. Whilst citizens of western and southern European countries support both, the acceptance of refugees and the fair distribution of the incurring costs and burdens be-tween European countries, the majority of people in eastern European countries do not share this point of view.