Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos on Friday took part in the 8th ‘State of the Union 2018’ conference organised by the European University Institute in Florence. The annual event on the European Union is this year focused on the topic of solidarity in Europe.
In his speech at the Palazzo Vecchio City Hall in Florence, Pavlopoulos spoke extensively about the principle of solidarity in the context of primary European law.
“The democratic principle, the principle of the rule of law, the principle of the welfare state, the principle of the lawfulness of administrative action, legal certainty and the protection of legitimate expectations, as well as constitutionally guaranteed individual rights, are not only the foundations of the European legal order but they also constitute a legal support on which the European Union is founded and the democratic legitimacy of its operation in general,” Pavlopoulos said.
“The principle of solidarity is emerging as a basic legal principle of the European Union, which is of fundamental importance for consistency and, as a result, for its sustainability,” he added. He explained that the application of this principle allows the European Union “to overcome, at least partially, some of the difficulties caused by the specificities of its structure and to contribute to the unity and efficiency of its operation, for the benefit of all Member States and, above all, of European citizens.”
During his speech, Pavlopoulos noted that “it is necessary and legally imperative that the principle of social solidarity is respected when joint action of the member states is taken on the basis of their mutual solidarity, so that the political choices made are not taken to the detriment of the social state and social cohesion.”
In conclusion, he pointed out that an interpretation of primary European law shows that “the purpose of all individual guarantees of the principle of solidarity, regardless of the subject of the in concreto obligations that arise, is common and concerns the protection of the human beings – and therefore European citizens – as the primary foundation of the European legal order.