During the the last decade, the EU’s “social deficit” has triggered an increasing politicization of integration as such and on redistributive issues within supranational, transnational and national arenas. Various lines of conflict have taken shape, revolving around who questions (who are “we”, i.e. issues of identity and inclusion/exclusion); what questions (how much redistribution within and across the “we” collectivities) and who decides questions (the locus of authority that can produce and guarantee organised solidarity). The logic of “opening” national boundaries and the logic of “closure” which historically underpinned state redistribution have come to a dangerous mutual clash. Likewise, in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis, the goals and culture of “economic stability” have gained intellectual and institutional prominence, colliding with the goals and culture of “social solidarity”. According to some commentators, these tensions has finally laid bare the irremediable flaws and contradictions of the integration project as such, which jeopardize the future of EMU and of the Union’s very political durability. The key challenge facing today political leaders is how to “glue” the Union together as a recognizeable and functioning polity.
Building on an ongoing ERC project (www.resceu.eu), this panel examines whether and how a “reconciliation” between the various logics of integration is possible, especially as regards North-South divides. It will propose novel perspectives for theorising about the existing tensions and their political and cultural roots; it will examine public opinon trends on the issue cross-national transfers; and it will highlight the centrality of leadership for safeguarding the EU as a polity and for re-crafting an adequate political and normative order.