La Solidarité européenne assiégée

La solidarité au sein de l'Union européenne est-elle en train de se fracturer ? Après la dégradation des négociations sur l'élargissement et les différences internes sur la question irakienne, avec des divisions similaires sur la question de la constitution de l'Union européenne et la politique étrangère et de défense commune, on pourrait bien le croire. Les sondages d'opinion montrent également un déclin dramatique dans le soutien à l'élargissement au sein des États membres actuels. Que la crise de la solidarité européenne soit réelle ou pas reste une question essentielle parce que l'Union européenne ne survivra pas sans solidarité, en tout cas pas dans sa forme actuelle.

Le sens de l'égalité et de la solidarité est essentiel à la formation de toute communauté démocratique. Dans les années 50, le sociologue britannique T. S. Marshall étudiait les progrès du droit, des droits civiques du 18ème siècle aux droits politiques (démocratiques) du 19ème siècle jusqu'aux droits sociaux du 20ème siècle. Trois dimensions (libérale, démocratique et sociale) sont propres l'État-nation européen.

La solidarité a joué un rôle central au 20ème siècle. En fait, ce fut la force motrice derrière le développement des pays européens, dans le sillage de la Deuxième guerre mondiale, qui mena à leur transformation en « États sociaux », mettant l'accent sur la protection sociale et tout un ensemble de programmes sociaux. Cette « solidarité institutionnalisée » se mesure dans un État-nation par la part de son PIB consacrée à la redistribution.

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