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

Report on voter turnout for the European Parliament and Political Equality in the EU (Deliverable 8.6)

This report on “Voter Turnout for the European Parliament and Political Equality in the EU” (D.8.6) provides a combined empirical and normative-theoretical analysis of political equality in the EU and discusses ways to overcome political inequality related to low voter turnout in European Parliament elections.

Read the report here.

Report on national parliaments as collective actor of European citizenship (Deliverable 8.4)

This report analyses national parliament participation in the decision-making of the EU and evaluates how the national parliaments as a collective actor have performed thus far. It explains the collective scrutiny mechanisms introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. After that, it provides an analysis of the methods and mechanisms that exist in EU member states for collective parliamentary scrutiny and in more details looks at the praxis of this oversight in 5 EU member states. The fifth part of the study is devoted to the analysis of how collective scrutiny has functioned since the Lisbon Treaty came into force (1 January 2010) up to the end of 2014 (31 December 2014). It is based on the author’s own dataset of EU legislative items which were sent to national parliaments and their chambers for scrutiny during the analysed period. The last section is devoted to a final summary of the results. Part of the conclusion is also a sub-chapter dealing with the dimension of policy advising. Its goal is to provide a recommendation for the future role of national parliaments as a collective actor in European integration.

Read the report here.

Report on public regulation through private litigation: consequences for political choice (Deliverable 8.3)

This document sets out the results of the research findings of the Task 3 Political rights and the EU’s new policy of “regulation by litigation” that is part of Work Package 8 Political rights within the bEUcitizen research consortium. The efforts of the research team aimed to answer the central question of the research, i.e. whether and how the policy of “regulation by litigation” influences the political choice options? Inevitably, the research team also arrived at the question of whether it is possible, with the lack of uniform institutional bases and the empirical data that is currently available, to arrive at useful conclusions and what types of data collection endeavours are most feasible for the attempts to address the research question.

The report provides a useful guide to the theoretical framework of the problem, the country studies in six Member States and addresses the findings on litigation data.

Read the report here.

Report on the transposition of the relevant EU instruments in the Member States (Deliverable 6.2)

This report is an analysis of national reports on Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden and Spain on the access of EU citizens to social rights. The social rights studied here are subsistence benefits, housing benefits, education grants and housing benefits. Especially these rights are vulnerable in case of economically non-active EU nationals; on the other hand exclusion from these rights may lead to serious poverty. Hence a very important area.

This study makes the analysis that there are several ways to design a social rights system and that some seem to create fewer problems than others while still having more legal certainty for the EU citizen. In scenarios the possibilities for Member States, both the host States and the States of origin, and also that of the European Commission are sketched to reconcile EU citizenship with national systems and thus to create more legal certainty.

Read the report here.

Report: Research on Migration: Facing Realities and Maximising Opportunities

Under the auspices of the European Commission, Professor Russell King (Professor of Geography, University of Sussex and Visiting Professor in Migration Studies at Malmö University) and Dr. Aija Lulle ( Research Fellow in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex and Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Migration Studies, University of Latvia) have published a timely report that snythesises the main findings from several European research projects dealing with migration. The FP7 projects are divided into three groups; first are completed projects which deal wholly or mainly with migration, second are projects centrally concerned with migration but only recently started, so outputs are as yet very few, and  third there is a longer list of projects, some parts of which deal directly or indirectly with migration, whose outputs have been selectively sampled.

In chapter one the report introduces the ongoing European debate on migration, in chapter two migration, asylum and refugees, and irregular migration is detailed. In chapter three, integration is tackled from a variety of perspectives (economic, social, cultural, spatial and political), chapter four looks at migration and development, and chapter five concludes by highlighting the key findings and their policy implications.

The full report can be found here

Research paper on guild traditions, economic development and the formation of national political economies (Deliverable 3.6)

In recent decades historians, sociologists and political scientists have attempted to explain why in the late 19th and early 20th centuries some Western countries adopted national corporatist structures while others transformed into liberal market economies. One of the explanatory factors often mentioned is the persistence or absence of guild traditions. Yet how exactly guild traditions influenced the shaping of national political economies largely remains unclear due to a lack of empirical evidence on their 19th-century development. This paper aims to contribute to the debate by investigating the development of various trades in Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands throughout the 19th century.

Read the full article here.

CURRENT TOPICS IN EUROPEAN CITIZENSHIP

European citizenship, created by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty which came into effect that same year, placed importance for the first time on people and their rights and duties. Albeit to a limited degree, the Treaty, and later on the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, defined a core set of rights and duties that make up European citizenship. However, this citizenship, which includes, for example, the right to free movement and residence throughout the EU, may be limited by the policies of member states, which ultimately are the ones who decide the European Union’s lines of political, economic and social action. Furthermore, the deficits of democratic legitimacy that blight the European institutions highlight the need to introduce new structures or to modify said institutions to bring them closer to citizens and to channel forms of participation that might increase democratic quality.

Hence, under the title “Qüestions actuals sobre la ciutadania europea” (Current issues facing European citizenship), the Catalan Government’s Institut d’Estudis Autonòmics (Autonomic Studies Institute) hosted a seminar on this issue on 5 May, in collaboration with the consortium ‘bEUcitizen – Barriers towards European Union Citizenship’.

The conference was attended by about 50 people, including university professors from different disciplines, senior civil servants and officials from the Government of Catalonia and undergraduate and doctorate students. Here we provide a summary of the main contributions from the five speakers at the seminar.

Historical development of citizenship in multinational countries: latest research

The seminar began with a talk by Professor Josep Capdeferro, from Pompeu Fabra University, who explained that in Catalonia, before the advent of a liberal state under the rule of law, we can consider there to have existed a “citizenship under construction” (which he also called “citizenship in progress” or “soft citizenship”). Research in this field has brought to light a number of rights held by the inhabitants of the villages, towns and cities of Catalonia that granted them a certain common legal status, such as universal taxation, legal limitations to military services, a wide range of local/municipal rights, accessible and functional administration of justice and, in particular, effective protection of these rights. This protection was divided into four levels: the institutions (such as the Tribunal de Contrafeccions [Court of Grievances]) laws (such as the Constitutions of Catalonia), jurisprudence, and everyday customs.  This notion of “citizenship” may well be very far removed from what was later introduced as a result of the French Revolution and the establishment of the liberal state under the rule of law, but it contains very relevant elements considering its historical context.

Multi-layered citizenship in the Swiss Confederation. A good example for Spain and the European Union?

The second speaker, Professor Francis Cheneval, University of Zurich, explored the concept of multilevel citizenship based on the experience of the Swiss Confederation. The construction of a shared federal nation based on the existence of different cultural and linguistic communities is one of the successes of the Swiss Confederation. As for the order of citizen preferences, their preferred identity is Swiss (federal level) whilst the regional one (defined by their culture) ranks second. The canton and local identity occupy third and fourth place, respectively. The construction of this common nation is based on several elements: the equal status of the cantons; multilevel citizenship with a focus on the local (access to Swiss sovereignty takes place through municipal citizenship); a high degree of sovereignty devolved to the cantons in terms of education, taxes and politics; the existence of a well-established direct democracy; the democratic principle as the basis for the creation of new cantons and the promotion of multiculturalism. However, during the debate, the difficulty of extending this model to other states or even the European Union was highlighted, taking into account the size of the territories, the level of cultural and linguistic diversity in Europe, the difficulties faced in promoting mechanisms of direct participation or the existence of states with culturally homogeneous societies and which are, therefore, very far removed from the Swiss model.

A territorial fiscal citizenship: public expenditure differentiation and equal protection of rights in Europe

Thirdly, the talk by Professor Flavio Guella, University of Trento, highlighted the difficulties of realising policies to equalise rights and social services, such as education and health, across Europe. Grants and transfer of resources from the European Union in this field are not aimed at ensuring equal access to rights or standards of common rights, and there is no European discourse on tax obligations. As noted by Professor Guirao, there is firstly no European definition of the minimum level of services and benefits for all European citizens, since social policies are the responsibility of the Member States and this affects spending policy of both states and the European Union alike.

Sub-national citizenships and collective political participation in EU through the Committee of Regions. A failed opportunity?

Professor Frans Van Waard, University of Utrecht, on the other hand, addressed the need to transform the Committee of the Regions of the European Union, either following the German federal model, with a chamber representing the regions (a third legislative chamber similar to the Bundesrat), or with a chamber representing the citizens (following the American federal model, ie, a chamber similar to the House of Representatives). It needs to be remembered that this Committee, which at the time it was hoped would fulfil the need for direct participation from the regions in setting European policy, has not, however, had the institutional profile that was expected. Other initiatives have also failed to improve citizen participation and democratise institutions, such as the modification of the European Parliament constituencies and the introduction of the concept of “multilevel governance”, which has lost some of its ability to innovate. Actions should be promoted, therefore, to bring about progress in this regard.  

EU and the independence of Catalonia. Will Catalans keep their European citizenship if Catalonia wins its independence?

Finally, Professor Mariona Illamola, University of Girona, dealt with a very topical issue in Catalonia: the maintenance or loss of European citizenship by Catalan citizens if it becomes an independent state. Although in principle European citizenship requires citizenship of a member state, she defended the possibility of an agreement being reached between the new seceded state and the previous state to recognise the right to European citizenship, or similar status, for the citizens of Catalonia, as well as mentioning several possible ways for this to be achieved. He cited various judgements by the European Union’s Court of Justice that would limit the discretion of states in defining citizenship, and which leave the door open to a broader or more enlightened concept of citizenship, one which could accommodate not only nationals of Member States but also other nationals in certain circumstances or conditions agreed with the European Union.

Research paper on formal and informal barriers to citizenship and trades (Deliverable 3.2)

Barriers to economic rights that limited access to markets and strongly privileged ‘insiders’ are often identified as constraining pre-modern economies. This paper provides the first systematic comparative analysis of the nature, size and distribution of barriers to entry to guilds and citizenship for a sample of towns and cities in France, the Low Countries, England, and German Europe. Barriers varied widely across Europe. Barriers based on personal traits (gender, religion, place of origin) were the most exclusionary element. For those able to qualify for entry, entry costs (qualifications, fees, wealth) for cities and guilds were also generally biased to favor insiders. For outsiders, minimum apprenticeship terms were potentially the largest cost, but their real impact was limited in most locations. Entry fees rarely exceeded six months unskilled wages. Guild and city barriers provided a considerable obstacle, but not one impermeable to men with skills, resources or persistence.

Read the full report here.

The legal framework for civil rights protection in national and international context (Deliverable 7.1)

The analysis carried out for Deliverable 7.1 focuses on the recognition and scope of civil rights of EU citizens and third-country nationals by national, European and international law. The national reports (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom and Ireland) reveal that the main sources of civil rights in the different countries are the national constitutions and specific national legislation, the European Convention of Human Rights and the EU Charter. In substantial terms, the civil rights are quite similar and entail, for instance, the freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial, freedom of association and assembly. The scope and recognition of civil rights in the countries assessed is nonetheless dependent on the national legal system and its openness to international and European civil rights. The application of the EU Charter is increasing in national case law. The ECHR seems, however, to be the main source of reference for international civil rights by national courts. Awareness of the civil rights in the EU Charter could thus be improved. A particular difficulty with the Charter is that it is only applicable within the scope of EU law, with the consequence national courts may be inclined to rely on the ECHR when in doubt as to whether the EU Charter is applicable to a specific national case.
In terms of barriers to citizenship, it seems that, as a preliminary conclusion, the recognition of civil rights is much dependent on national legal systems and that judicial practice show a preference to refer to the ECHR over the EU Charter. There are, however, signs that this is slowly changing. In most countries, the national legislation lacks references to the EU Charter or the ECHR. Nevertheless, most of the international and European civil rights are recognized in national law, because these norms are directly applicable or because these norms are transposed into national law.

Download the full paper: Deliverable 7.1 -Research paper on the legal framework for civil rights protection in national and international context

Conceptual and methodological framework for systematic comparison and analysis (Deliverable 4.1)

This document provides a theoretical and methodological framework for the analysis of the individual case studies of work package 4 (Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey). It corresponds to task 1 of work package 4, which is aimed at establishing the conceptual bases for development of deliverables 4.2 to 4.9, and later comparison of the case studies in deliverables 4.9 and 4.10. D4.1 sets out therefore the common core of concepts to be used in work package 4 in order to explain when, why and how barriers resulting from the multilevel nature of citizenship can be solved. In addition, this paper will be a central component of the introductory chapters of deliverables 4.9 and 4.10.

Download the full report: Deliverable 4.1 – D4.1_Conceptual and methodological framework