The current crisis has indirectly contributed to questioning the efficiency of financial markets and democratic institutions at European and national levels. Recent data from the Eurobarometer (July 2013) shows a continuous decrease in the trust levels that citizens from the European Union have on national governments and parliaments, radically decreasing in more than 25 points in the last six years (European Commission, 2013). This situation is jeopardizing the European project while at the same time a lively public debate about the meaning of European identity is taking place across Europe. Several social scientists have argued that the social and economic inequalities in the new global order are contributing to civil social reactions, based on solidarity, aiming to achieve a better society for all (Touraine, 2007; Wright, 2010).
This project aims to analyzing in depth the acts of solidarity which are being developed across Europe, the extent to which they respond to dialogic and inclusive processes, the related outcomes and the policy developments. The project starts from previous findings on successful actions which are combating the crisis – by creating employment or improving access to health – through acts of solidarity. These acts are thus contributing to construct more inclusive and prosperous societies, by influencing at the macro-level (social inequalities) and micro-level (psychological wellbeing).
In this regard, the research will identify common elements among these acts in order to examine their transferability to different contexts. To cover this objective, effects of these actions in five social areas will be studied in depth: housing, education, employment, engagement and health. Simultaneously, special attention will be paid on social investment policies which are supporting these initiatives.