International Conference: ‘The Bonds That Unite?’ Historical Perspectives on European Solidarity

 June 23-25, 2016, University of Augsburg

Chair for Contemporary History (University Augsburg) / Research Network on the History of the Idea of Europe (, supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Jakob-Fugger-Zentrum (JFZ)

The concept of “solidarity” is fundamental to the European project. While pro-European intellectuals had long applied it as a more or less abstract reference, the concept evolved into a solid cornerstone of European unity after the Second World War. The notion of a European solidarity union was essential to validating the integration process and had always been a component of redistribution policies on the supra-national level.

Our conference will examine various manifestations and interpretations of the solidarity concept in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. How did the pioneers of European unity define and conceptualize “European solidarity”? Which forms of international solidarity were actually practiced in Europe? And what were the limits of the “European solidarity union”? In so doing, the conference will address a highly topical and political problem: How much solidarity does the European enterprise need?