European Citizenship in Perspective
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European Citizenship in Perspective

History, Politics and Law

Edited by Jan van der Harst, Gerhard Hoogers and Gerrit Voerman

Civil, economic, political and social rights are at the centre of the concept of European citizenship. In this volume, the focus is on the political-constitutional dimension of European citizen­ship, which is discussed from the perspective of several disciplines – history, constitutional law and political science. It provides a multi-faceted account of the evolution of European citizenship and its institutionalization, explaining why certain rights came into existence at a certain time and focussing on several key actors involved, such as the European Court of Justice.
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Chapter 4: The rights of EU citizens: a legal-historical analysis

Tobias Nowak


In the European Union, the different legal dimensions of Union citizenship have developed very differently, both chronologically and substantially. Economic rights came at the beginning of the integration process and were only gradually supplemented by civil and political rights as well as social rights. What were the reasons for the unequal development of the different legal dimensions? Which actors were responsible for this development? What was the role of the Member States, the European institutions and EU citizens themselves? With the aim of better understanding their present appearance, this contribution describes the evolution of economic, civil, political and social rights in European Union law. Not only do the reservations of some Member States become clear but also the low level of influence of the European institutions and the disinterest of the citizens. The idea of the market citizen still characterises EU citizenship, and political and social rights can only be understood as an appendage of economic rights.

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