Habermas emphasises that solidarity is a political act and is in no way a form of moral selflessness. It is an attractive concept because it pays off in the long term. Habermas likens the concept to one’s ethical obligation to family: If a distant relative calls to ask for a favour, you will agree to help only if you can count on that relative to do the same for you in a similar situation. In other words, solidarity works according to the principle of “predictable reciprocity”. This, according to Habermas, can be extended to political communities bound by shared goals.
Habermas concludes that the monetary union can only be saved through solidarity: “Providing loans to over-indebted states is not enough. What is needed is a cooperative effort from a shared political perspective to promote growth and competitiveness in the euro zone as a whole." Such an effort would require Germany and several other countries to accept short- and medium-term losses, confident in the conviction that solidarity is in their – and our – long-term interest.