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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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Edited by Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrin

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Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrín

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Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrín

This chapter compares the institutional setting and integration processes in Switzerland and the European Union (EU). It shows that EU integration is trying to achieve more political integration and the accommodation of a much higher degree of diversity in much less time than has ever been the case in Switzerland. Direct democracy has acted as a federator in the Swiss context. There has been a slow and iterative process of adaptation of structurally similar institutions of direct democracy at all levels (communal, cantonal, federal) roughly between 1830 and 1891. The EU is only incipiently in a process of introducing direct democracy. Mobility of residence, the one element on which the EU has based the construction of EU citizenship and identity, has not been actively facilitated and is implicitly discouraged in Switzerland, formal freedom of movement notwithstanding.

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Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrín

This chapter contains the main lessons from the case studies and the integrative chapters on centralistic and federalist solutions to conflicting claims to citizenship and identity. The models of Canada and Switzerland come closest to the EU integration process as they protect diversity while upholding common institutions. But the chapter also highlights the volume’s findings concerning unitary states. The strategy of de-complexification was not successful in creating a homogenous nation in Estonia, Turkey or Czechia and contradicts the declared values of the EU. However, a diversified political identity can be constructed within a unitary state, because not all issues that concern citizens relate to ethnicity and the state can accommodate many claims by protecting public goods. How individual and collective political rights can be balanced is something that both unitary and federal states struggle with from different starting points.

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Edited by Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrin

European Union citizenship is increasingly relevant in the context of both the refugee crisis and Brexit, yet the issue of citizenship is neither new nor unique to the EU. Using historical, political and sociological perspectives, the authors explore varied experiences of combining multiple identities into a single sense of citizenship. Cases are taken from Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. These examples of communities being successfully incorporated into one entity are exceptionally useful for addressing the challenges facing the EU today.
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Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrín

Chapter 6 by Francis Cheneval and M—nica Ferr'n deals with direct democracy in the European Union (EU). One of the solutions proposed by scholars to deal with the alleged democratic deficit of the EU is to favour direct participation of EU citizens in decision making at the European level. In this chapter, we address the viability of EU referenda as a mechanism of direct democracy. So far, the use of direct democracy in relation to EU issues has been residual, and referenda on EU issues have always been held at the national level. And yet, there is insufficient evidence supporting the critiques against direct democracy at the European level. In this chapter the authors propose therefore a model for a European referendum that is: 1) held on EU internal issues of primary law; 2) mandatory; 3) simultaneous in all member states; 4) binding; and 5) simple regarding subject matter. Empirically, they show that current practices of referenda on EU issues in European member states produce distortions in democratic functioning, due to the ad hoc way in which the referenda are held. Firstly, optional referenda favour that the incumbent government call for a referendum only on issues for which they receive strong support. As such, optional government-induced referenda are used as strategic instruments, i.e. as plebiscites. Secondly, optional referenda allow some member states to have a stronger negotiation power than others, especially when they are not held simultaneously. Thirdly, optional referenda produce discrimination among EU citizens since only a few of them are given the right to participate. The Swiss case is used as a paradigmatic example from which we draw a number of lessons for the EU.

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Francis Cheneval and Mónica Ferrín

Chapter 8 addresses the question of whether or not EU citizenship can integrate multi-layered identities. EU citizenship has introduced much complexity with regard to who is an insider and who is an outsider. While the EU has tried to provide equal treatment to nationals who live in another member state, strict limitations have been enforced on third-country citizens who move to an EU country. This different treatment has resulted in different categories of citizens – a situation that is often difficult to manage. Cheneval and Ferr'n propose a comparison between several case studies and the European Union. It is argued that the varieties of multilevel citizenship can shed some light on possible developments for European citizenship which can help overcome some of the obstacles Europeans face nowadays when trying to exercise their rights.