Challenges at the Crossroads of the European, National and Private Spheres
Edited by Sybe de Vries, Henri de Waele and Marie-Pierre Granger
Chapter 7: The civil right to free movement: the beating heart of European Union citizenship?
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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