by Rainer Bauböck
Current citizenship laws in the European Union vary dramatically. The tension between freedom of movement and national self-determination of citizenship has the potential to create serious conflicts. Taking European citizenship seriously means a shared understanding of who the future citizens of Europe are to be.
Taking European citizenship seriously calls for shared understanding about who the future citizens of Europe are to beRainer Bauböck
What we can learn from this brief survey of citizenship policies in the European Union is that these are increasingly contested in domestic politics and may become a source of conflict between member states. Spontaneous convergence towards liberal norms is no longer a plausible expectation. Fourteen years after formally creating a citizenship of the Union, it is time that European policy-makers take the initiative of introducing common European standards for the citizenship laws of the member states. This does not require imposing a single European citizenship law. The process might start with an open method of coordination and could result in an authority of EU law to regulate those aspects of national legislation that violate principles of European solidarity or amount to arbitrary discrimination and exclusion of third-country nationals. Taking European citizenship seriously calls for shared understanding about who the future citizens of Europe are to be.
Rainer Bauböck is a political scientist and senior researcher at the Austrian Academy of Science, Institute for European Integration Research, and professor in political and social theory at the European University Institute in Florence. Bauböck is the author of Transnational Citizenship. Membership and Rights in International Migration (1994) and editor of a series of books on migration, citizenship, and diversity.