Who is ultra vires now?

For decades, and until a few weeks ago, Article 310 TFEU has been seen as prohibiting the EU from borrowing to finance its expenditure. The Commission’s Next Generation EU proposal reverses that interpretation and raises fundamental questions of EU law and its dynamic interpretation. With such a sudden change of heart, are the Member States under a duty to follow? What constitutional limits remain to their membership obligations?

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Not a Safe Place?

In an unprecedented move, the Italian government has declared Italy’s ports “unsafe” due to the COVID-19-pandemic. It did so by issuing an executive decree late Tuesday last week, seemingly in response to the rescue of 150 shipwrecked by the Sea-Eye’s Alan Kurdi. This is not the first time that the Italian government has used decrees to close its borders for sea-rescue ships. However, given the extraordinary circumstances of this case in the midst of the on-going Corona-crisis and the novel argument made by the Italian government, the decision warrants closer examination.

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The Conference on the Future of Europe: an Open Letter

To the Presidents of the European Parliament, of the EU Commission and of the Council: Europe, and your new, yet already contested, political leadership can hardly afford to be associated with an initiative that might soon be perceived as top-down, unauthentic, outdated and out-of-touch with EU citizens’ daily lives.

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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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