What Triggers Transnational Solidarity?
by Ann-Kathrin Reinl (GESIS Cologne)
The concept of European solidarity has been intensively studied over the last decade, especially since the outbreak of the European Financial Crisis in 2010. However, little has been said about the willingness of European citizens to show transnational solidarity towards other EU member states. To be more precise, it remains an open question what exactly triggers transnational solidarity within the European Union. Former studies have shown that a European identity (Verhaegen 2017) as well as cosmopolitanism (Kuhn et al. 2017) impact citizens’ support for inter-country solidarity actions. But how is transnational solidarity developed and shaped when it comes to other kinds of crises? Would citizens be more willing to show solidarity when natural disasters or high numbers of migrants reach fellow countries compared to economic difficulties? Moreover, inter-state assistance during the Euro Crisis did not come along without bailout conditions. EU member states in debt had to implement harsh austerity measures in their countries. Hence, I am also interested in the conditions individuals attach to inter-state solidarity. To address these research questions, I will conduct surveys in two European states which depicted extreme cases in times of the European Financial Crisis as well as the Migration Crisis: Germany and Greece. The data will be collected in June 2019 via the GESIS Panel in Germany and via an online survey in Greece. In the survey, I will ask various questions concerning participants’ transnational solidarity. At first, I will compare the general support for inter-state solidarity actions within the EU to support for solidarity measures between regions within a country. In the next step, I will introduce three crisis scenarios that might hit a EU member state - economic crisis, migration crisis and natural disaster - to see whether transnational solidarity depends on countries’ responsibility for a crisis. Furthermore, preferences for conditions attached to financial aid are discussed. I expect that citizens are more willing to show transnational solidarity when a country under crisis is not responsible for its situation. Moreover, provided help is assumed to be less bound to conditions in scenarios where the beneficiary country had no or only a minor guilt for the eruption of the crisis. The last questions in the survey depict participants’ visions on the future of solidarity within the European Union. In the conference Interdisciplinary Perspectives on European Solidarity I would like to present my research proposal in a fruitful setting and discuss it with scholars working in the same research field.