Citizenship: European and Global

This paper takes a historical view of the notion of citizenship as applied beyond local or national communities; it is argued that European Union citizenship can draw upon these experiences as well as provide the precedence for a global notion of citizenship.

ARENA Working Paper 22/2001 (html)

Andreas Føllesdal

Talk of citizenship beyond state borders is not new. To the contrary, we find competing conceptions already in ancient Greek and Roman political thought. Notions of citizenship beyond the city-state did not include any legal rights beyond borders. In contrast, Athenian citizens - that privileged set of free men -- enjoyed active rights to political participation. Yet for Socrates and Diogenes, citizenship of the world seemed to replace traditional citizenship rights and duties. In comparison, the Roman Empire recognized and even encouraged dual citizenship, with loyalty both to the local community and to Rome. This arrangement allowed citizens of Rome freedom of movement and trade within the Empire. European Union Citizenship is closer to this Roman practice than to the Greek vision of cross-border citizenship - for better and worse. Union citizenship carries clear legal implications fostering freedom of movement and trade, and is intended to supplement, rather than to replace, national citizenship. Dual citizenship also means that the European Union must come to grips with challenges of institutionalisation and multiple loyalties. Reflection on the roles and challenges of Union citizenship may teach lessons for global citizenship. Both forms of citizenship create aspirations to a democratic political order with a scope beyond existing states, and face challenges regarding institutions and political culture.

Tags: European citizenship, history, legitimacy
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM