European Union citizenship in retrospect and prospect

Authored by: Willem Maas

Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies

Print publication date:  June  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415519724
eBook ISBN: 9780203102015
Adobe ISBN: 9781136237966


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‘Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union.’ Thus declares the treaty signed in Maastricht, the Netherlands, on 7 February 1992 by the then twelve member states of the European Community, which became the European Union upon the treaty’s entry into force on 1 November 1993. The Maastricht Treaty’s formal insertion of citizenship into the legal documents governing the institutions of European integration consolidated decades of legal and political development leading to a common citizenship status for citizens of EU member states. Facing opposition in some member states, however, the negotiators of the next treaty, the Amsterdam Treaty, added the qualifier that ‘Citizenship of the Union shall complement and not replace national citizenship’. This chapter explains the evolution of European citizenship, from its genesis in the aftermath of World War II to the present. Rather than an easy and linear development, EU citizenship’s growth mirrors the vicissitudes of the integration project more broadly. Focusing on the contested nature of the supranational or, perhaps more accurately, transnational (Olsen, 2012) rights embodied in the concept of a common citizenship for all Europeans, the chapter closes by examining its future prospects.

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