The scientific debate about the European federalizing process has mainly focused on the possibility of a qualitative development towards a formal European constitution. This perspective, especially in the aftermath of the failure of the «Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe» and the political backlashes of the financial crisis, overshadowed the original "functionalist way" and perhaps underestimated its outcomes. Starting from Léon Duguit’s reflection on social solidarity, the essay argues that a functionalism rooted in a factual solidarity has generated (although within a dialectic between commutative justice and distributive) stronger solidarity constraints than a call for ethical solidarity. In this perspective, factual solidarity does not contradict ethical solidarity but can premise it. The conclusion is a less pessimistic reading of the European integration process; however not an ingenuous one as some technical issues suggest a continuous caution.
Keywords: European integration, functionalism, principle of social solidarity, economic and monetary union
Jel Code: E02 E42 E58 K19 N14