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Union Citizenship—Metaphor or Source of Rights?

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After nearly ten years of introducing Union Citizenship as a concept into Community law it seems time to draw a preliminary evaluation of its importance in reshaping the legal and social positions of citizens living in the EU, more precisely in its Member States. The balance sheet is however mixed: On the one hand, the prevalent position in legal doctrine seems to be that Union citizenship is merely a derived condition of nationality, while on the other side certain fundamental rights are based on criteria other than citizenship/nationality alone. The European Charter on Fundamental Rights will not overcome this dilemma. This can be shown in conflictual areas which are in the centre of discusion in the paper, namely the (limited!) use of the concept of citizenship to extend existing free movement rights in the new case law of the Court of Justice, the resistance towards granting ‘quasi-citizenship’ rights to third country nationals lawfully resident in the Union for a longer period of time, and the yet unsolved problem of imposing ‘implied duties’ based on a doctrine of ‘abus de droit’ upon citizens paralleling the rights granted to them. As a conclusion the author is of the opinion that the question asked for in the title can be answered in the positive only to a limited extent. Citizenship appears to be a sleeping fairy princess still be be kissed awake by the direct effect of Community law.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Professor of German and European Civil and Economic Law, University of Bremen

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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