A Citizenship Maze: How to Cure a Chronic Disease?

European Union (EU) citizenship is in crisis. If the Eurozenship debate, composed of experts on EU citizenship, is analogized to a doctor’s diagnosis, the outcome is more extensively polarized than initially thought—a chronic disease, not just a temporary disorder. As I follow the debate, it is no longer clear what the problem is—there seem to be too many, real and imaginary—or how to heal it. Some issues seem to be “genetic,” part of the EU’s DNA, yet others resemble a concrete illness that may be cured, so the argument goes, by a “doctor’s prescription,” which in law means a legal design.

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Member State and EU Citizenships Should be Strengthened Rather than Disentangled

While perhaps appealing as a gesture towards addressing problems such the anticipated deprivation of rights following Brexit, statelessness, or wide variation in Member State naturalization and denaturalization policies, these proposals are impracticable in the absence of international recognition of EU citizenship (which would normally require recognizing the EU as a state, which in turn should normally mean that the Member States cede competence over citizenship), challenge deeply rooted national stories of peoplehood with an emerging story of European peoplehood, and risk undermining fragile public support for EU rights.

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EU Citizenship as an Autonomous Status of Constituent Power

I would argue, however, that Kostakopolou’s argument for a “co-determined Eurozenship” would not go far enough in realising the potential of the status. This post develops this argument first by grounding the normative appeal of autonomous EU citizenship in the context of Member State withdrawal. Next, it is suggested that the co-determination of the status by Member States and the EU institutions would be incompatible with the current legitimacy foundation of the EU. The post concludes by considering the more radical alternative of EU citizenship being made autonomous so that individuals can exercise constituent power to re-establish these foundations of the European Union constitutional order.

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More Suffocating Bonds?! Conceptual and Legal Flaws of the Unnecessary Proposal

In this brief contribution I turn to Kostakopoulou’s text and briefly show that her proposal: 1) ignores the core aspects of EU citizenship’s added value; 2) is entirely unnecessary; 3) is not legally neat; and 4) is dangerous for the very nature of EU citizenship today as it essentially pleads for the recreation of the ‘suffocating bonds’ the EU was created to ease, only at a scale much more scary than Greece, Ireland or France, when taken one by one. Besides, it ignores every single outstanding problem actually posed by EU citizenship law as it stands.

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Eurozenship: always a bridesmaid?

I would be most happy if Dora Kostakopoulou’s vision of an autonomous EU citizenship came into being. However, there are two key normative and practical pitfalls of her proposal. First, the decoupling of statuses that she proposes poses the risk of ‘free riding’ on EU citizenship rights for those who had, at some point enjoyed, and then lost, this status. Second, having in mind the different definitions of residence across the Member States, linking the acquisition of EU citizenship to this status is like putting a roof on a house with uneven walls.

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On the Risk of Trying to Kill “Seven at a Blow”

I agree with Dora that political theorists should not be afraid of radicalism, as long as the proposed reform effectively achieves clearly defined and desirable goals (the utilitarian test) and is consistent with fundamental norms (the principled approach). Richard Bellamy already pointed to the potentially negative consequences of what he describes as a form of “mushroom reasoning” on some of the core principles underlying the European project, such as that of reciprocity. While I broadly share Richard’s conclusion, my main concern here is that Dora’s proposal may not entirely satisfy the utilitarian test requirements. In other words, instead of killing seven flies at a blow, it may end up killing none.

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A Dysfunctional Eurozenship? The Question of Free Movement

A European citizenship model autonomous from Member States’ nationality cannot work within the context of free movement. Should we end the debate, then, and take Richard Bellamy’s side? Not necessarily. Dora Kostakopoulou’s Eurozenship can be both improved and approved, and below I offer a few options for doing it.

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