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Solidarity is in high demand in the European context. The Euro crisis, the refugee situation, terrorist attacks and, most recently, Great Britain’s vote to exit from the EU have led to repeated and loud calls for solidarity. Yet whereas the success of the European project gives the impression that European solidarity simply exists, it is not easy to pin down. Is it an emotion, a normative stance, a political slogan? And if solidarity is present, then for whom, why and with what consequence? While pro-European intellectuals have long appealed to it as a more or less abstract concept, the pioneers of European unity started turning it into a policy. Thus, academic research is confronted with questions about the meaning(s) of European solidarity in different contexts.

The conference ‘The Bonds that Unite?’ Historical Perspectives on European Solidarity took up the challenge of answering some of these questions. It was organized by the Chair for Contemporary History (University of Augsburg) and the Research Network on the History of the Idea of Europe (University of East Anglia), with financial support by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Jakob-Fugger-Zentrum (JFZ) and the Association of Friends of the University of Augsburg (GDF).