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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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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A relative dissociation of Union citizenship from member States nationality needs to mean something more than long term residence status

Dissociating Union citizenship from Member States nationality law recognizes and consolidates the assumption that people holding a genuine link to the EU have the right to possess its citizenship, regardless of whether their state of residence is willing to offer it to them. I believe that granting the status of European citizenship beyond Member State nationality, in a period noted by the emergence of far-right populism targeting migration as the major threat for European civilizational unity is a win-win solution both for its bearers and the EU itself.

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The Tale of Two Citizenships

August 2018: Two reports make the rounds in Austrian media. One discusses data protection issues for persons on the so-called citizenship “Promi-Liste”. It tells a story of a Chinese investor, who offered a donation to a public university dean in exchange for assistance with receiving the Austrian citizenship. Meanwhile, another paper breaks the news with a related dicey topic: about 70 Austrians have received notice they are to lose their citizenship. The reason? They allegedly reacquired their native Turkish citizenship as evidenced by their alleged participation in a Turkish referendum.

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Beyond Electoral Mandates—Oversight and Public Participation

Those who win elections want to remain in power after the next election. They have an incentive to undermine the credibility of the opposition and to use the tools of political power to do so. Incumbents who aggrandize power and demonize opponents can produce situations where office holders are less and less threatened by credible organized opponents. The opposition, in turn, seeks to gain power not only by espousing alternative policies but also by questioning the integrity and competence of incumbents.

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With a little help from Henry VIII

There are few legislative assemblies in Europe which can call themselves with proud sovereign. The Principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty is the most important part of UK constitutional law. It implies that all legislation derives from the superior legal authority of Parliament and hence it is the job of the Members of Parliament to create, abolish and change the law. Well, since Henry VIII this principle is no longer entirely true, and it is currently challenged again by the future “Great Repeal Bill”.

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New Forces for the Greek State: Comments on Comments

The pointed commentary published on Verfassungsblog over the last week—coming from different perspectives and informed from different experiences—shows the potential of such debates. In the case of Greece, they are an important addition to a discourse focusing too much on austerity or debt sustainability.

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