CIDEL (completed)

The project "Citizenship and Democratic Legitimacy in the European Union" - CIDEL focused on the prospects for a citizens’ Europe  through analysing what kind of order is emerging in Europe. A particular concern was to take stock of the EU as a rights-based post-national union, based on a full-fledged political citizenship. Does the EU proceed along this developmental path, and if so, how far has it proceeded?

Chalk drawing of Europe (Photo: European Communities)

About the project

The research under the CIDEL project was divided into eight workpackages.

Workpackage 0 was dedicated to the overall co-ordination of the project. Hence workpackages 1 to 7 were dedicated to research. The purpose of workpackage 1 was to ensure the development of an overall theoretical approach to the study of post-national integration, which can work across the different research activities. Workpackage 2 - 6 concentrated on concrete policy areas.

  • Workpackage 1 - Theoretical perspective
  • Workpackage 2 - Europe's Common Interest and Communicative Space
  • Workpackage 3 - Constitution Making and Legitimacy
  • Workpackage 4 - Justifying Enlargement
  • Workpackage 5 - External Security
  • Workpackage 6 - Taxation and Social Policy
  • Workpackage 7 - EU and Post National Integration


The main purpose of the project encompassed the following objectives:

  1. specify three different options for forging a citizens’ Europe and assess the normative basis of each of the options, including their attendant notions of citizenship. How robust are they from the point of view of democracy, solidarity, and justice?
  2. test the empirical relevance of each of the three options, with emphasis on the third one, and how they relate to each other – over time, across policy fields, levels of governance and in a number of member states.
  3. develop a third conception of integration, integration through deliberation, and assess it in relation to the dominant conceptions of integration which are based on functional adaptation and strategic bargaining, respectively.

Its salience was tested within the realms of constitution making, enlargement¸ tax policy and foreign and security policy.


The EU is an entity ‘in the making’, and there is no assurance that it will replicate the notion of citizenship associated with the nation-state. For analytical purposes we may distinguish between three different conceptions of citizenship, which are reflective of different conceptions of the EU qua polity.

  • The first is economic citizenship, based on rights associated with the four freedoms, where the citizens are seen as producers, consumers, users, and customers and reflects the notion of the EU as a problem-solving entity.
  • The second is social and cultural citizenship, based on a set of common values, aimed at establishing a material basis for societal membership, and reflects the notion of the EU as a value-based community.
  • The third is political citizenship, based on a set of common civil and political rights, with the purpose of empowering the citizens to be ‘co-authors’ of the law, and reflects the notion of the EU as a rights-based post-national union.

Is the EU becoming a mere problem-solving entity based on economic citizenship; is it moving towards a value-based community premised on social and cultural citizenship, or is it moving towards a rights-based post-national union, based on a full-fledged political citizenship?

The hypothesis of this project was that the latter option is the most viable. CIDEL has both an empirical and a normative dimension. The empirical dimension refers to the actual prevalence and viability of each of the options across different policy fields and levels of government. The normative dimension relates to the validity of the three options for governance.


CIDEL was supported by the European Commission's Fifth Framework Programme for Research with a contribution of 1,6 million euro.


CIDEL was a joint research project between ten partners in six European countries. The project was co-ordinated by ARENA at the University of Oslo. CIDEL involved about 20 researchers within political science, law, media research and sociology.

Published Feb. 4, 2011 11:16 AM - Last modified May 29, 2017 3:47 PM


Geir Kværk

ARENA - Centre for European Research
PO. BOX 1143 Blindern
0318 Oslo