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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Let Third-Country Nationals Become Citizens in Host Member States and of the European Union

I agree with Dora’s diagnosis, and I agree that the EU – and EU Member States – should act to rectify shortcomings of the Union citizenship construction that largely unconstrained allows inequality in regard to access to Union citizenship and Union citizenship rights. However, I cannot subscribe to Dora’s solution. In my opinion, the suggested reform is not the right cure to the shortcomings of the present Union citizenship practice.

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If You Want to Make EU Citizenship More Inclusive You Have to Reform Nationality Laws

Dora Kostakopoulou rightly spots some deficits in the current construction of EU citizenship, but she asks the wrong questions about these deficits and her answers would therefore aggravate rather than resolve the problems. She asks: “Why should statelessness lead to the loss of Eurozenship?” The better question would be “Why should the EU tolerate that Member States produce stateless people?” She proposes “that all children born in the EU, who might not be able to inherit a Member State nationality, would automatically be EU citizens”. The better proposal would be to make sure instead that all children born and raised in a Member State become citizens of that state and thereby EU citizens.

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The Case Against an Autonomous ‘EU Rump Citizenship’

In the debate between Dora Kostakopoulou and Richard Bellamy, I agree with most of the propositions put forward by Dora in her introductory paragraphs: that EU citizenship allows former enemies to meet and live in harmony; that nationalistic populism should be rejected; and that the prospect of Brexit remains depressing. Nonetheless, I disagree with her proposal to move towards an autonomous EU citizenship.

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