Willem Maas


The ability of a state to determine who its citizens are is a core element of sovereignty, yet even in this area coordination in the European Union has arisen as member states adjust their policies regarding citizenship acquisition and loss to take into account the European project. Furthermore, EU citizenship grants extensive rights that member states must respect, though the only way to become an EU citizen and acquire these rights remains through citizenship of a member state. This article sketches the development of EU citizenship from the 1950s to the present, mapping its evolution onto the phases of European governance utilised in this special issue. The search for closer coordination and common guidelines concerning citizenship flows from functional needs inevitably generated by superimposing a new supranational political community over existing national ones, resulting in shared governance within the framework of member state autonomy. Though welfare states and social systems in Europe remain national and jurisprudence safeguards the ability of member states to exclude individuals despite shared EU citizenship, legal judgments emphasise that member state competence concerning citizenship must be exercised in accordance with the Treaties and that member state decisions about naturalisation and denaturalisation are amenable to judicial review carried out in the light of EU law.


Article Keywords

EU citizenship, Free movement, Rights, Multilevel citizenship, Governance

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