The Status of European Citizenship: An Overview

Abstract This chapter gives a swift overview of the workings and principal rights associated with European citizenship. Some insight into the historical evolution of the status is offered. The major entitlements are explained as well as important case-law. The aim is to provide an outline of the essentials of European citizenship for the purpose of understanding the arguments made in this book.

Keywords European citizenship • Brexit • United Kingdom • Freedom of movement • Right of residence • EU law • EU citizens’ rights

The status of European citizenship was introduced in European law with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Let us see what steps were taken to establish this particular form of status civitatis that differs from the standard legal form of citizenship that we are used to consider equivalent to nationality. It is additional to having member state nationality. It entails a series of rights that nationals of member states would not enjoy if they were not European citizens. This confers a degree of independence to the content of the status. It is not, however, an autonomous status. Yet, member states are not fully autonomous in exercising discretion over who gets access to the status. This overview shows what makes European citizenship a status suigeneris that is not constituted in the same way as nationality in unitary states or dual citizenship commonly found in federal systems. The aim of this chapter is

© The Author(s) 2017

P. Mindus, European Citizenship after Brexit, Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-51774-2_2

not to present European citizenship in an exhaustive manner but to shed light on some key aspects of the status that are important for the arguments made in the book.

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