A historical perspective on solidarity and integration: the case of the free movement of workers

Research output: Contribution to conferenceKeynote


There is a growing literature on solidarity and the European integration process, which has produced a multitude of different perspectives on different types of solidarity in different contexts. In this literature, solidarity is overwhelmingly construed as a 'force for good'. Yet there are problematic aspects to the idea and practice of solidarity. With this in mind, we focus on its limitations and ambiguities. To this end, we use a historical lens to interrogate the idea of solidarity in relation to European integration - it is worth stressing that this is very much work in progress. To be more specific, we look back to the interbellum (1920s and early 1930s) debates on European solidarity with a focus on the free movement of workers.
The Interbellum debates provide a rich and visionary perspective on the idea of European solidarity and the key issues that these debates raised remain relevant today. Interestingly, pan-Europeans opined that solidarity should not be confined to the economic sphere. They notably advocated its practice in the field of social policy although they foresaw that this would not be without challenges. The free movement of workers offers a particularly apposite case study as this core field of economic integration branches out into social policy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 3 Sept 2021
EventSociety of Legal Scholars (SLS) Annual Conference 2021 - Durham University, Durham
Duration: 31 Aug 20213 Sept 2021


ConferenceSociety of Legal Scholars (SLS) Annual Conference 2021


  • solidarity
  • European integration
  • free movement of workers
  • social policy
  • historical perspective


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