Edited by Hein-Anton van der Heijden
Chapter 8: European citizenship
European citizenship is a peculiar construct. It is citizenship of a ‘nonstate’. Moreover, it is not based on exclusive individual membership of the EU polity; rather, it is derived from national citizenships of EU member states (Closa, 1992) and it was linked already from the first treaties to EU-specific rights to free movement and non-discrimination based on nationality (Plender, 1976; Evans, 1984; Maas, 2007; Olsen, 2008). Not only that, it has been – and still is – hotly contested among academics and politicians alike. This is, of course, not surprising as citizenship is often seen as one of the crucial ideas, statuses and institutions of the nationstate. Is ‘European’ citizenship then not an oxymoron, a veritable ‘pie in the sky’ (D’Oliveira, 1995) that has little to do with citizens’ real lives and more to do with the utopian visions of overzealous political leaders and cosmopolitan academics? This chapter charts the vast research field on European citizenship that has blossomed since citizenship became ‘official’ in European integration through so-called Union citizenship in the Maastricht Treaty. In so doing, the chapter focuses primarily on the political science literature with certain forays into political philosophy and European law where needed. As this volume deals with political citizenship and social movements, specific emphasis is put on different strands of research that focus on the meaning of European citizenship and its development as a specific kind of citizenship institution ‘beyond’ the nation-state.
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