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Edited by David Levi-Faur and Frans van Waarden

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Edited by David Levi-Faur and Frans van Waarden

This book looks at democratic empowerment via institutional designs that extend the political rights of European citizens. It focuses on three themes: first, the positive and negative effects of the European Union institutional design on the political rights of its citizens; second, challenges for democratic regimes across the world in the 21st century in the context of regionalism and globalization; third, the constraints of neoliberalism and capitalist markets on the ability of citizens to effectively achieve their political rights within the Union.
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Edited by David Levi-Faur and Frans van Waarden

This content is available to you

Edited by David Levi-Faur and Frans van Waarden

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Mónica Ferrín and Francis Cheneval

EU citizenship faces problems similar to other heterogeneous and fragmented political entities. This chapter reviews how the EU has managed to accommodate rivalling claims under a unique form of citizenship and how it deals with problems derived from the multi-layered nature of citizenship. In eight case studies, the chapter highlights institutional and substantive solutions that have stood the test of history and we draw lessons for the EU regarding the rationales of state formation, the inclusion of certain communities, and the link between community and territory. The case studies vary in terms of heterogeneity and territorial political power. All have faced problems concerning the coexistence of culturally distinguished communities within the same territorial borders. In recent years, two types of claims have developed in EU Member States: (1) too much interference of the EU in national matters; (2) economic asymmetry of the periphery against the ‘core’. One of the lessons from this chapter is that the EU is not facing conflicts framed around incompatible claims to unity of cultural identity, but conflicts regarding political competencies and economic strategies that can be tackled with structural reforms within the paradigms of federalism and democracy.

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Sandra Seubert and Oliver Eberl

Modern democratic citizenship is, on the one hand, constructed as a bounded concept, intimately linked to the nation state, yet on the other it entails a universalistic promise of inclusion and is potentially unbounded. Since the ‘nationalisation’ of citizenship in the nineteenth century, the concept refers to a coherent status with particular rights and duties based on a collective identity, a ‘we’ perspective, defined by those being born within the bounded territory of a ‘nation state’. Yet the universalistic promises of citizenship are at odds with a bounded membership status that goes along with exclusions for social, gender and racial reasons and this potentially creates a transformative dynamic. These conflicts and dynamics are also mirrored in the development of European citizenship. This chapter sheds light on these questions by investigating historical and normative trajectories and social struggles that brought about modern notions of citizenship. It analyses the boundaries and promises, ambivalences and tensions embodied in the democratic concept of citizenship, and finally shows how they are mirrored in the institution of European citizenship, as well as in the discussion about its future.

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Martin Seeleib-Kaiser

Social rights in the EU continue to be primarily determined by decisions at the nation-state level. Despite the discourse of a European Social Model, Member States pursue very different approaches to social rights, leading to highly divergent outcomes. This chapter analyses social rights at three levels: (1) social rights at the level of the European Union; (2) social rights at the level of Member States; and (3) the social rights of EU mobile and EU migrant citizens. It will be argued that social rights at the EU level are only weakly developed compared to economic rights. Moreover, social rights at the level of the Member State continue to be mainly determined by domestic factors, although austerity policies, promoted by EU institutions, had a negative impact on social rights in countries severely hit by the economic and subsequent sovereign-debt crisis. Social rights of EU migrant citizens remain primarily focused on workers, while rights for economically inactive EU migrant citizens continue to be severely restricted within the first five years of residence.

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Trudie Knijn, Marcel Hoogenboom, Sandra Seubert and Sybe de Vries

In the past few decades we have observed soaring anti-Europeanism in many EU Member States under conditions of expanding European citizenship rights in almost all domains of life: economy, social protection, law, democracy and family. This paradox – if not contradiction – is what the FP7 research programme bEUcitizen has struggled with, tried to unravel and now has to address. Are we dealing with a paradox, that is, seeming though not real contradictive tendencies, or do we face fundamental and unsolvable contradictions between the EU on the one hand, and citizens and constitutions of EU Member States on the other hand, or – and even more complicated – does the concept of (EU) citizenship itself contain contradictions? In its call for reflecting on barriers towards EU citizenship that has founded this programme the wording has been proactive: ‘The concept of European Union citizenship lies at the heart of the EU’s unique polity. The challenges that the EU faces in making EU citizens more aware of their rights and obligations and in seeking to overcome the persistent shortcomings related to the exercise of EU citizens’ rights and obligations’. Now, after four years of research with the involvement of academic experts in law, economics, social science, philosophy and history from 19 countries and 26 universities, the balance is made up and the main conclusions have to be drawn.

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Sybe de Vries and Elisabetta Pulice

Economic rights have constituted an indispensable aspect of EU citizenship. They have always been stressed by the European Union and more recently incorporated in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Despite the fact that within the context of the European Union economic rights are ‘old’ rights and have a relatively strong position compared to other EU citizenship rights, there are legal and other, administrative and linguistic, obstacles that make the exercising of these rights sometimes difficult or even impossible. These obstacles develop against the background of a complicated system of multilevel governance between the EU and its Member States where different categories of citizens (gender, age, insiders and outsiders) and an increasing number of rights rival with each other. The question is: what is the impact of the multilevel context of the European Union on hindrances to the exercising of economic rights?

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Wieger Bakker and Marlot van der Kolk

This chapter deals with the future of EU citizenship, which is uncertain. There is neither a blueprint nor a strategic plan for fostering the further development of EU citizenship and for breaking down the barriers to the exercising of citizenship rights. At the same time, policy makers and decision makers are not left empty handed. Analysing different imaginable scenarios on the future of the EU and on EU citizenship broadens perspectives on which actors could use which repertoires of action that may protect, foster or stimulate the development of EU citizenship. In this chapter four imaginable future scenarios are presented. These scenarios reflect the uncertainties of whether Europe and the EU will develop in one or another direction. It addresses core questions on what will happen with EU citizenship in these alternative conceivable futures, the room for manoeuvre, and the actors who can or should cope with it.