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


Work-related Conditionality and the Access to Social Benefits of National Citizens, EU and Non-EU Citizens

This article contributes to an understanding of how conditionality applies across social security and immigration policies in restricting the access to social benefits of national citizens, EU and non-EU citizens. Specifically, the article builds on Clasen and Clegg’s (2007) framework of conditionality in the context of welfare state reform by extending that conceptual framework to include migration. The framework is applied to examine how different levels of conditionality have been implemented in UK policy reforms to restrict access to rights of residence and to social benefits. It is argued that a conditionality approach moves beyond a binary of citizens and migrants in social policy analysis, contributing to an understanding of the dynamics and interactions of work-related conditions in restricting access to social benefits, with implications for inequalities that cut across national, EU and non-EU citizens in terms of the relationship of particular groups to the market.

Read the full article here:

Article on geographies of families in the European Union: a legal and social policy analysis (Deliverable 9.8)

This deliverable (9.8) is an article submitted to the International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family (Oxford Journals) which analyses the notion of family in the EU and family reproductive rights in a group of EU member states with different legal, cultural and social backgrounds (Italy, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Croatia and Hungary). The article combines a sociological and legal approach and is based on a questionnaire completed by the partners involved in the task (see Annex I).

The social and legal changes in the geographies of families in Member States encourage the European Union to reconsider its traditionally prudent approach to family law. Indeed, the free movement of people, an essential characteristic of European citizenship, requires legally established family statuses to be ‘portable’ abroad. Similarly, marriage and reproductive mobility arising from the variety of national regulations force domestic legislatures and courts to challenge the definitions of family found in domestic law and social policy in the name of the right to family life and the principle of non-discrimination. Thus, this article starts by discussing the various notions of family that emerge from national laws and social policies in six EU member states with different legal, cultural and social backgrounds (Italy, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Croatia and Hungary). It then delineates the role of Europe and the social and legal interactions between Member States in the construction of a definition of family. Finally, it concentrates on cross-border reproductive care, a case study that allows for shedding light on the convergences among countries, as well as the role of Europe as a supra-national institution and as a space in which family models circulate and spread. The main conclusion is that a multilevel analysis of the notion of family shows the circularity of interactions top-down and bottom-up between Europe and individual States, as well between society and law.

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New report of the European Commission on monitoring the application of EU law

The new report on monitoring the application of EU law in 2013 has been published.

Since 1984, the European Commission annually monitors whether member States respect EU law obligations, i.e. if they completely and correctly transpose EU directives and properly apply the entire EU acquis.

Although there has been an improvement in recent years, the report shows that late transposition still remains a persistent problem. Most of the late implementation infringements were opened against Italy, Cyprus and Slovenia, while Sweden, the Netherlands and Ireland were the best performers.

Most infringements (62%), however, concern the incorrect transposition and/or bad application of EU law related to environment, taxation, transport and internal market & services. Italy, Spain and Greece had the worst record for compliance with EU law, while Latvia, Malta and Estonia were among the best performing Member States.

The report reveals also that citizens, businesses and organizations remained very active in reporting potential breaches of EU law, helping thus the Commission in its monitoring activity. Among the 3505 registered complaints, 72% were concentrated in the following five policy areas: justice (590), environment (520), internal market & services (494), employment (470) and taxation & customs union (452).

For more information please read the press release and the report.

Citizenship in new states: the Scottish case.

During the first Annual Consortium meeting in Istanbul, June 30th until July 2nd, there were several moments of plenary discussion, illuminated by the keynotes of the project’s Advisory Board Members.

One of those was held by Jo Shaw, the Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh and holder of the Salvesen Chair of European Institutions. Addressing the issue of Citizenship in an independent Scotland, her contribution was aimed at better understand the complexity of the concept of citizenship at the national level.

Citizenship cannot be considered merely a box filled with rights and obligations. It is not only about the content and the label posted on this box. What is really important is: who will be able to enjoy its content? Who are the citizens who will hold this (new) citizenship status? ‘The Scotland’s independence process would provide an interesting laboratory to understand citizenship regimes in new states; it would tell us something interesting about Citizenship as a new polity. A “who do we think we are” moment.’

Citizenship in an independent Scotland will be based upon an inclusive model. Many people in Scotland have ties to the rest of the United Kingdom, including familial, social and economic connections. An independent Scotland could recognise the complex shared history of Scotland and the United Kingdom by offering shared or dual citizenship. – Scottish Government, Your Scotland, Your Voice, A National Conversation, 2009.

If on the one side this proposal should be positively evaluated as an attempt to maintain connections with the rest of the UK, on the other side it raises more questions than it provides certainties. Who will be the Scots? How will the rest of UK react? Will a double citizenship be tolerated? Furthermore, the issue of citizenship in new states cannot be dissociated from the political rights issue. Who will vote before and after the independence referendum?

The questions raised by Jo Shaw can be reflected upon, also from a European perspective. The “who do we think we are” moment has been answered, or do we still have to find an answer at this fundamental question?

Answering this question would mean that Europeans would finally recognize a common heritage and history. It would signify that the relation EU- EU citizenship is two-ways street. It would mean that European citizenship is finally a meaningful concept for the EU citizens.

The weight of Scotland’s referendum on Europe

Will Scotland vote yes or no for its independence from the United Kingdom?

Inevitably, everybody is wondering what the result will be of Thursday’s referendum.
Only the officials of the European Union do not talk about it, preferring not to take a public standing.

Does their silence mean that they do not care about the Scottish issue? Not exactly. Indeed, if the yes wins, new issues will arise. Scotland will set a precedent not only for other autonomist movements in Europe: from Catalonia to Veneto, from Flanders to South Tyrol many independence movements will be emboldened. It will be a precedent also for how Brussels deals with territories breaking off from a Member State.
Would a new independent Scotland have to apply to join EU or would it be sufficient to amend the treaties using Article 48? In the latter case, would Spain agree for a procedure that makes the path easier for Scotland?

It is not, however, only a matter of becoming or not becoming a new Member State. Independence in Scotland would have many consequences both in the relation with the European Union and with UK. What if Scotland won’t be part of the open borders of the Schengen area? Would Scotland join the euro or opt for another currency?

Furthermore, and above all, how will Scotland deal with a new citizenship? Who will have Scottish citizenship and who will be able to apply for it? As stressed by Professor Jo Shaw during the bEUcitizen Annual Conference in Istanbul, the Scotland’s independence process would provide an interesting laboratory to understand citizenship regimes in new states; it would tell us something interesting about Citizenship as a new polity’s “Who do we think we are” moment.

To conclude, EU officials may not have said very much because the break-up of a member state takes them (and not only them) into unknown territory.

You can read the original article here