What price solidarity?

Is solidarity is a principle for European policymakers – or just rhetoric?

The agenda of a recent roundtable in Brussels on the state of Europe bravely tried to inject the question of fairness into the debate on whether the European Union is piling on too much austerity. It was not hugely successful because notions of fairness are shaped by clashes of values and ideologies that do not feature much in public-policy discussions in Brussels. While fairness clearly animates protests in European streets, in debates in Brussels it is tamely associated with solidarity, a routine ingredient for European solutions to all social, financial and economic ills. 

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