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Fundamental Rights and Citizenship of the Union at a Crossroads: A Promising Alliance or a Dangerous Liaison?

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The reinforcement of the protection of fundamental rights at the European level and the emergence of the status of Union citizenship are two closely connected phenomena. European citizenship has been and continues to be one of the central arguments in favour of the extension of the scope of EU fundamental rights. This argument arises out of a sentiment that vindicates equality at the core of the citizenship of the Union as a fundamental status. Against this background, this paper examines the different possibilities of interconnection between the traditional doctrine of EU fundamental rights and the jurisprudential construction of the citizenship of the Union. Particularly, it will be discussed whether fundamental rights should be placed at the core of the formula that protects the ‘genuine enjoyment of the substance’ of the rights conferred by EU citizenship, inaugurated by Ruiz Zambrano, already latent in Rottmann and substantially refined in an ever‐growing case‐law (McCarthy, Dereci, O. and S., Ymaraga and Alokpa). It will be argued that this formula carries the very valuable potential to reinforce citizenship of the Union as an independent source of rights able to overcome problems such as reverse discrimination. For these purposes, this formula could be considered to encompass not only the absolute deprivation of the ‘genuine enjoyment of the substance of citizenship rights’, but also the existence of serious obstacles thereto.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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