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Edited by Sybe de Vries, Henri de Waele and Marie-Pierre Granger

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Edited by Sybe de Vries, Henri de Waele and Marie-Pierre Granger

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Henri de Waele and Marie-Pierre Granger

This introductory chapter first sketches the overall context of the volume, positioning the topic and the chosen angle within the ongoing scholarly debate on EU citizenship. It clarifies the structure of the book, as well as the lead questions and themes addressed in the various chapters, thereby identifying the underlying philosophy of and interconnections between the two main parts. Lastly, it provides the reader with a concise series of previews, indicating the concrete ‘marching order’ in the individual contributions, while already highlighting some of the authors’ findings and conclusions.

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John Morijn

This chapter analyses the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by the EU’s political institutions, as well as the Fundamental Rights Agency. Focusing on systematic measures put in place to check Charter compliance, it first of all finds that although these instruments appear useful in terms of design, their use may be subject to improvement and intensification. It is argued that these checks are a logical consequence of the Charter’s binding nature and that no additional compliance tools are needed. Hereafter, studying general and specific civil rights protection measures and actions of the political institutions and FRA, it is argued that there is now a sense of overlapping efforts. In conclusion, it contends that the groundwork is in place to protect and promote the Charter’s civil rights, but that the onus is also on those who seek to use it to do so (more) effectively.

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Sybe de Vries

This chapter explores the potential and limits for enforcing civil rights in a horizontal fashion in Member States, at the level of the ECHR and at the EU level, with a particular focus on EU law and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Furthermore it focuses on the barriers that citizens face in relying on civil rights norms in a horizontal setting vis-à-vis other individuals, that is, private parties, and on the question of how EU law and EU civil rights can be secured in horizontal settings. First, the concept of horizontal direct effect in EU law is explained, then the various pathways are explored that lead to the protection of civil rights in horizontal settings. The chapter concludes by shortlisting a number of options that could be resorted to in order to further enhance and promote the protection of civil rights by private actors.

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Javier A. González Vega

This chapter discusses the role played by civil society in public affairs, taking into consideration its real and/or presumed involvement in global, EU and national structures and processes, and paying attention to the identification of such actors and their purported legitimacy. The normative framework related to civil society actors is then examined through a multilevel analysis, paying special attention to EU participatory democracy tools relevant to civil rights standard setting, especially European Citizen Initiatives. Next, a general picture is provided of existing civil society organisations across the EU involved in the protection of civil rights in Member States, describing the ways through which they can influence legislation and their main strategies to set up and enforce those rights; namely, association, freedom of expression and the right to privacy. Finally, it concludes by indicating possible gaps and deficiencies restraining the performance of civil society actors.

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Hanneke van Eijken and Pauline Phoa

In principle, Member States are exclusively competent to decide how persons can acquire and lose their nationality, but EU law, and more specifically Union citizenship rights, provides important outer limits. The chapter first offers an overview of recent reports on this topic, highlighting commonalities and idiosyncrasies of the domestic systems. Furthermore, it provides an analysis of developments in the EU that provide the aforementioned legal framework that Member State laws need to respect. The chapter subsequently comments on recent developments in the light of the interplay of the EU legal framework with domestic nationality laws. It is concluded that the relationship between Member State nationality and EU citizenship can be looked at from two perspectives, namely, on the one hand, as an example of the dynamic division of competences between the EU and its Member States, and on the other, from a more conceptual, fundamental level.

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Tomasz Dudek

By providing an overview of the EU’s anti-discrimination legal framework, the main aim of this chapter is to identify some of the barriers to the full enjoyment by the Union citizens of the right to non-discrimination that result from the current structure of that framework. Starting with an explanation of how ‘equality’ and ‘non-discrimination’ are understood in EU law and what the sources of EU anti-discrimination law are, the chapter then discusses the importance of the anti-discrimination law from the perspective of Union citizenship. Next, it analyses the characteristics of the EU anti-discrimination law, focusing on the forms of discrimination recognised as well as grounds on which discrimination is prohibited. It then identifies three groups of barriers which limit the possibilities to enjoy the right to non-discrimination. Lastly, the chapter provides some general conclusions based on the above analysis.

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Marie-Pierre Granger

This chapter examines the evolving relationship between free movement and Union citizenship and critically analyses the nature of the EU right to free movement, as a civil as opposed to an economic right. It does so by reviewing EU rules regulating the exercise of the right, as well as engaging in a detailed study of their national implementation and application in selected Member States. It reveals that EU law imposes demanding conditions on the exercise of the right and allows for a range of restrictions, which make it more difficult for certain categories of EU citizens and their families to move and settle. Moreover, even when EU rules are ‘generous’, they are not always respected at the national level, and supranational institutions do not always enforce them vigorously. This calls into question the idea that free movement is, or should be, Union citizens’ core civil right.

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Pilar Jiménez Blanco and Ángel Espiniella Menéndez

EU citizenship has particular consequences in the protection of family life. The protection of family life implies the need to ensure families’ mobility within the EU. This chapter first determines what is the model of ‘family’ in EU law, and then identifies the various ways in which mobility is facilitated within the EU. It then surveys existing barriers and constraints pertaining to the following life events: filiation, forenames and surnames and marriage, highlighting the lack of harmonization, disparities of national legislations, and their effects on EU citizenship and free movement of persons. In conclusion, the chapter sketches the tentative application of five mechanisms that may serve to mitigate existing barriers related to the experiencing of life events of (mobile) EU citizens and the free movement of persons more generally.