European solidarity is one of the most important issues of the last months as European societies and economies faced a deep and asymmetric shock due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The question is what kind of solidarity and with what characteristics? In the European Council meeting of July, a historic agreement was reached to create a €750 billion recovery fund. Yet, this agreement exposed deep divisions and disagreements over the objective and characteristics of European solidarity. At the end of the day, its success or failure depends on voter attitudes and electoral outcomes that will judge the choices of national governments. Will they support – and pay for – European solidarity or oppose it? The following analysis is based on a European survey in 13 European countries and the UK that was conducted in April 2020 from the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence and YouGov, a market research company. The results of this survey demonstrate that support in European solidarity varies by geographical distance, by issue, and by the perceived net-benefit to the own country. Support is motivated by mutual benefit expectations rather than moral obligation or common identity. In terms of instruments, most respondents prefer permanent EU structures of risk and burden sharing. Finally, a relative majority prefers a Europe that protects to a Union solely based on its market.

This Policy Brief by Odysseas Konstantinakos, Doctoral Researcher at the European University Institute, is based on the article “EU solidarity in times of Covid-19” from the Policy Brief series, 2020/34, of the European Governance and Policy programme which analyzes the research results of the European University Institute of Florence and YouGov. The authors of the article are Lorenzo Cicchi, Researcher at the Robert Schuman Center for Studies, Philipp Genschel, Professor of European Public Policy, Anton Hemerijck, Professor of Political Science and Sociology, and Mohamed Nasr, PhD researcher at the European University Institute. DOI: 10.2870 / 074932.

You may read the full text (in Greek) here.