Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law
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Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law

Edited by Gareth Davies and Matej Avbelj

The Research Handbook on Legal Pluralism and EU Law explores the diversity of phenomenon of overlapping legal systems within the European Union, the nature of their interactions, and how they deal with the difficult question of the legal hierarchy between them. The contributors reflect on the history, sociology and legal scholarship on constitutional and legal pluralism, and develop this further in the light of the challenges currently facing the EU.
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Chapter 11: Pluralism through its denial: the success of EU citizenship

Dimitry Kochenov and Justin Lindeboom


EU citizenship is derived from the nationalities of the Member States and thus seemingly obeys international law’s ‘anything goes’ pluralism: who is a citizen is for the states to decide. In practice, EU citizenship has effectively destroyed the ties between citizenship and state territory, offering virtually unlimited access to rights far beyond the conferring state’s territory. Since none of the Member States will be willing to give up the claim of sovereignty in nationality matters, holding on to the ‘full sovereignty in citizenship matters’ mantra, access to EU citizenship is paradoxically bound to be pluralist in nature precisely for the most antipluralist reasons. Thus, as part of a perpetual ‘clash of legal orders’, EU citizenship is a crucial federal denominator, shaping the ever-fluid vertical boundaries of competence.

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