This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 320294

EU

EUROPEAN POLICY BRIEF: REVISITING THE FOUNDATION OF EUROPEAN UNION CITIZENSHIP: MAKING IT RELEVANT TO ALL EUROPEAN UNION CITIZENS

February 10, 2017

REVISITING THE FOUNDATION OF EUROPEAN UNION CITIZENSHIP: MAKING IT RELEVANT TO ALL EUROPEAN UNION CITIZENS
Policy scenarios and recommendations from bEUcitizen, a research project on the barriers to realise and exercise citizenship rights by European Union citizens

Written by
Marie-Pierre Granger

 

Drawing on the research conducted during the project, this policy brief assesses the current status of the civil right of free movement as the anchor of European Union citizenship. In democracies, freedom of movement is a core civil right and a privilege of citizens. The European Union is no exception: the nationals of the European Union member states, as European Union citizens, have the right to move and reside in any other member state, and when they do, they should be treated like the nationals of their host states.

This mobility and equal treatment paradigm of European Union citizenship, however, is under growing pressure. As the economic crisis hit hard, in particular in Eastern and Southern European states, their people moved to more wealthy European Union states, where they hoped to find work or ways of making a living. Meanwhile, citizens in Western and Northern Europe worried about what they perceived as increased competition for work and social benefits. Terrorist threats, the refugee crisis, and the rise of far-right, anti-foreigners and anti-European Union parties further challenge the unrestricted mobility basis of European Union citizenship.

If mobility no longer constitutes the ‘substance’ of European Union citizenship, then what could replace it? One possible solution is to shift the basis of European Union citizenship from mobility to rights, and rebuild it around the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. Such a transformation would flesh up what has so far been criticized as a thin citizenship.

This policy brief evaluates the current status of the right to free movement as the anchor of European Union citizenship, and develops two main scenarios for the future of European Union citizenship, one based on the current paradigm of mobility and the other based on rights. It then offers a range of policy options, which seek to preserve mobility, as the more likely, although perhaps not the most desirable, basis for the future development of European Union citizenship.

 

Please click HERE to download the policy brief.