The Many Paradoxes of European Citizenship
Agustín José Menéndez has published the article 'Which Citizenship? Whose Europe? — The Many Paradoxes of European Citizenship' in a special issue of the German Law Journal.
The article is part of a special issue on 'EU Citizenship: Twenty Years On', edited by Patricia Mindus.
The three central theses of this article are as follows. First, 'European citizenship' has become an unhappy misnomer. The set of rights and obligations that make up the status of European citizenship fall wide short the mark of those proper of citizenship in a normatively demanding sense. To put it differently, European citizenship is no citizenship.
Second, European citizenship is rapidly becoming a dangerous misnomer. The 'gap' between European citizenship and citizenship in a normative sense has been customarily accounted by reference to either the 'embryonic' character of European citizenship (European citizenship will be a citizenship in the making) or to the innovative character of European citizenship (part of the radically new constitutional grammar of the post-national world in which we would have allegedly entered). But twenty years after the formal introduction of the status of European citizenship, and in the eight year of a deep and grave economic, social and political crisis, it has become increasingly evident that the gap between European citizenship and a normatively demanding conception of citizenship is not transitory, but structural. Some of the fundamental rights that make up the status of 'European citizenship' do undermine the very ground on which a normatively demanding conception of citizenship rests. In particular, the economic rights that are a crucial component of European citizenship (the four economic freedoms as constructed by the European Court of Justice and applied by the European Commission) undercut the collective goods that constitute the backbone of the Social and Democratic Rechtsstaat.
Third, it is urgent that European citizenship is redefined in line with the normative ideal of citizenship in the Social and Democratic Rechtsstaat. This would require redefining European citizenship in the semblance of the Social and Democratic Rechtsstaat. For that purpose, what may well be needed right at present is not a further centralization of power ('more Europe' in the pseudo-federalist language of key European institutional actors), but a reconfiguration of the European Union which would recreate the capacity for effective political decision-making at all levels of government.
Agustín José Menéndez
Which Citizenship? Whose Europe? — The Many Paradoxes of European Citizenship
German Law Journal, vol. 15, no. 5, 2014, pp. 907-933