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


WP4 Other Countries with Multi-Layered Citizenship and/or Rivalling Citizenship Claims

In the realm of citizenship, the EU, as a multi-national entity, faces problems that have already been experienced by multi-ethnic and (con)federal states for decades, sometimes centuries. This applies to such barriers as varying (linguistic and ethnic) identities, competing prioritisations of rights and/or practical language problems. Citizens in such countries belonged to two or more communities, from which they derived identities and claims to specific rights. Countries with multiple linguistic communities or minorities, such as Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Spain, Estonia, Latvia and Romania have given these communities specific rights. Or they have been able to claim them – e.g. the right to speak their minority language in court – under reference to EU citizenship. Special status can also affect property rights, as in Estonia, the right to own real estate.
In this work package, these experiences and the ways in which such countries have dealt with multiple
civic identities, will be investigated and compared. Questions addressed by this work package are:
1. What have been the problems, tensions, contradictions and practical barriers to achieving various citizenship claims in such countries?
2. Which solutions to these problems have been tried? How did these countries manage their internal tensions and hindrances to different and possibly conflicting citizenship claims?
3. Have they managed to solve the problems or to reach stable co-existence?
4. If solutions were not or less successful, what have been stumbling blocks?
5. Which persistent problems or barriers are still being experienced by ‘minorities’?
6. What, if anything, could the European Union learn from these experiences elsewhere in different places and times? Which examples should it follow? Which pitfalls should it avoid?

The objectives of this work package are therefore to compare the problems experienced and solutions tried in other (con)federal states – or other states where citizens have multiple identities – with those in the EU. Some of these countries are mentioned in the tasks below.
A conceptual framework for the comparison will be developed, followed by case studies in different countries with citizens with multiple identities. Subsequently, these case studies will be systematically compared and conclusions will be drawn from the experiences they illustrate which may possibly be useful for the EU.
Countries with minorities in them or diasporas abroad to be investigated include: Spain, Canada, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Turkey, Israel and Switzerland. The studies will also delve into the histories of these countries and how the concepts as well as practices of citizenship and citizenship rights have evolved there over time. In particular we will ask the question whether, to what extent and under which conditions the Confoederatio Helvetica, Switzerland, could be a future model for the European Union. Except its size, it has many similarities with the EU: multilingualism, a decentralised federal structure, citizenship both of cantons and the federation, a vibrant economy, etc. Could what seems to have worked on Switzerland’s small scale also work on the much larger scale of the European Union? And might perhaps modern transport and communication technologies make this more feasible than it might have been in the past?