Citizenship and Mobility in the EU
Edited by Ettore Recchi and Adrian Favell
Chapter 7: EU Movers and Politics: Towards a Fully-Fledged European Citizenship?
Anne Muxel INTRODUCTION As an economic, social and cultural entity, the European Union has made much progress in recent decades, becoming a visible and objective reality in both the representations and practices of the inhabitants of its member countries. Nevertheless, Europe as a political space is not so well advanced. The political construction of the EU has not only encountered formal and institutional obstacles – such as the referenda rejections of European constitutional reform in France, the Netherlands and Ireland – but also problems of recognition by its own citizens. In the space of 20 years up to 2004, while the powers and prerogatives of the European Union have not ceased to expand, the abstention rate in European elections has gone up by 17.3 points on average in all countries and, in many of them, comprise half the electorate. This paradox clearly reveals how difficult it is to implement the idea of European citizenship and mobilize the genuine consciousness of a European political space. Research devoted to European citizenship – which reports on national public opinion concerning Europe – shows a fairly sizeable imbalance between, on the one hand, the relative acceptance of the Union and the largely positive image it enjoys; and on the other, the weakness of effective practices in this new field of civic expression and intervention (Cautrés and Reynié 2001; Duchesne and Frognier 2002). The European Union has suffered a ‘democratic deficit’ from the beginning of its history (Lindberg and Scheingold 1970; Siedentop 2001; Déloye 2005). Time has...