Common European Culture and Citizenry


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Collaboration with Council of Europe

The result has been that attempts to bridge the various perspectives at hand continue to meet increasing difficulties. In fact, legal scholars hardly ever take into consideration sociological case-studies, while political scientists turn a blind eye to issues addressed in international private law and so on. Of greater weight are some of the misinterpretations embedded in the debate, which seem to be far too common on both sides. Certainly, all the emphasis laid on citizenship has brought the notion into the limelight.

However, there are some negative effects linked to this evolution. This leads to a conceptual overstretch that deprives citizenship of its specific political and legal meanings. Moreover, the limelight on citizenship has also contributed to loosening up the fundamental difference between status civitatis and status personae.


  • Introduction?
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In the current debate, the two figures of citizenship and personhood seem to be exceedingly confused. An interesting statement is for example that T. There seems to be a very peculiar form of inflation behind this blurring of genres, which consists of trying to entitle the citizen to a long list of rights, which in reality has a quite different reference, namely the person as such. This is why it is important to clarify the conditions enabling a specific right to be plausibly referred to the category of citizenship.

Therefore, discourse analysis is an important tool so as to unpack in proper detail the very notion of citizenship. Unless we are content to regard a vague level of discussion as the default position, we need detailed analysis into the concept and an empirical investigation into its various modes of utilization in our discourses.

And it is our task to check whether this word is an accurate signum , if it grasps a specific configuration of the world or if it only projects desires. We need to keep these different meanings apart since they obey different sets of rules in the use we make of them. Instead, we shall ask what is opposed to citizenship.

How does the negative image look? I shall now illustrate the composition of these three semantic areas, by explaining for each one the structure and content of the basic dichotomy; from where it originates historically; and what kind of problems it is thought to resolve.

Then I will recall briefly in what way some crucial problems that we face in Europe today are connected to the three different ways of understanding citizenship.

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The citizen is determined by some form of ius activae civitatis. More specifically, we might say that the political understanding of citizenship is related to the principle of affectedness , a key tenet of democratic theory, according to which people should have a fair say on decisions affecting them. Indeed, the traditional legal perspective holds citizenship unequivocally to be the status conferred upon those who are entitled to various active and passive positions in relation to the State. This is also why this understanding is compatible with most political regimes, regardless of the democratic tenure of the constitutional framework.

In the long history of the legal civis , the problem of entitlement has been connected to the extension of the legal order and its homogeneity. Most bilateral treaties in international private law, as well as international agreements tend to avert that specific situation. Convention on the citizenship of married women, signed on the 29 th of January in New York. The main instrument for preventing potential conflict is still constituted by bilateral treaties, that remain a very time-consuming and rigid tool for fixing the many hard cases that arise.

It only implies that the means through which Jurisprudence hoped to solve the issue have, to some extent, failed.

Towards a European Identity?

Here, the content of its basic dichotomy varies, as well as its structure. Rather, it is the marginalised individual or the excluded person, as developed by Robert Ezra Park 33 and Gino Germani. The social status is the position, ascribed or acquired, that the person occupies in the social stratification of a group in relation to various social norms — such as primarily material goods, work position, cultural know-how, power arrangements, etc.

This means that we can point out intermediate positions in-between maximal exclusion and full integration in society. This latter condition thus becomes the equivalent status of full membership. The basic issues — legitimacy, rule of law, and social cohesion — are all unquestionably necessary elements for enabling peaceful living. But the links between them is a question I shall not discuss here. This is an open issue that EU citizenship still faces.

From the political citizenship standard, this recent migration wave poses serious problems.

Changes in government functions

First, these people retain their right to vote in Poland even though they do no longer live there. However, they only have a limited access to political rights in the host country. Secondly, the possibility of a double vote for the same scrutiny of the elections for the European Parliament, which is left unsanctioned in Europe, jeopardizes the principle of one man, one vote. In December , a referendum for introducing dual citizenship for up to 3 million ethnic Hungarians in Romania, Slovakia, and Serbia was defeated because of low turnout.

In Europe, a case of mass statelessness can be found for instance in Estonia, which has signed neither the Convention relating to the status of stateless persons, nor the Convention on the reduction of statelessness. It should be added that Estonia's stateless persons decline every year and currently only 9 percent of residents are carrying so-called grey passports, compared to 32 percent just 15 years ago. But the figures are still eloquent. The majority of interviewees rejects the idea of equal opportunities for nationals and European foreigners on the job market.

These people lost their residence entitlement, along with other status-related benefits, because they were no longer considered to be citizens of the country they live in. From being citizens of the Yugoslav Republic of Slovenia, they became foreigners in the newly founded Republic of Slovenia but unlike other resident foreigners they were erased from official records of residents , let alone that some of them risked statelessness overall.

Rather, the suspicion is that we are dealing with rights better described as related to status personae. The thesis is nonetheless that these other issues seem to derive from the stripped legal status, and not vice versa. Very few attempts to overcome disciplinary divides have yet been made. Here, a scheme has been canvassed.

In this way, it is crucial for correct understanding of the matter that status civitatis and status personae are kept distinct. Discourse analysis proves to be a useful tool in unpacking the very popular but increasingly confusing notion of citizenship. This, in turn, is functional for our shedding new light on transnational citizenship building and cross-state handling of status-related issues. Furthermore, the referendum result had such an actual impact on the politics of the governing parties that the execution of the decision of the constitutional court was delayed until The government previously claimed that some of the erased had acquired permanent residency permits already in September Ramet and Damjan Lajh.

Marrus, Les exclus. Arendt, Origins of Totalitarism , cit. Antalovsky, J. Melchior, S. Puntscher-Riekmann eds. Integration durch Demokratie. See also M. A respectable Burgundy passport will turn into blue trash, Kazakhstan style , as research shows , losing a huge share of its value in terms of the rights and opportunities the UK nationality will be able to endow its holders with. The question now is what to do about this, once we have diagnosed this destruction. Approaches will differ, depending on which side of the Channel one is.

From the point of view of citizenship Brexit is shorthand for one and only thing: xenophobia. Indeed, the only added value of xenophobia in the concrete terms of Brexit and citizenship is only one: discrimination on the basis of nationality will become legal in the UK.


  1. Do you feel part of a common European identity? - Debating Europe.
  2. The Contemporary Debate on Citizenship.
  3. Allegro Appassionato, Opus 43: For Cello and Piano: 0 (Kalmus Edition);
  4. This is nothing else but an undoing of the core European ideal. To make xenophobia work pragmatically — and we are now looking at Brexit form little England — deviations from it are possible in some cases.

    American Things Europeans Find Weird

    For instance, the UK will probably be able to give full access to its labour market to the holders of the nationalities it dislikes less — the Danes for instance, or the Irish — as opposed to those it is more xenophobic about, say Romanians or Poles — just as the EU itself does it with the Swiss, New Zealand with Australians and Albania with Americans. You know you can discriminate on the basis of nationality and you do it, however irrational this is. You do precisely what the EU has been created to prohibit among the participating states. Why would anyone leave the EU otherwise?

    Now, looking from Brussels and Rome, the picture changes somewhat: the question is what should we do about Brexit and the seemingly unavoidable failure of the UK nationality in terms of the shrinking rights and the reign of discrimination on the basis of nationality knowing that the UK is not violating any rules, it is simply creating its own, fully in line with those practiced by the EU on a daily basis? To Guy Verhofstadt the answer is clear: more Europe. Let us extend EU associate citizenship — whatever this can be, but presumably coming with EU rights for the holders — to those Britons who wish to have it.

    In fact, this totalitarian and self-righteous talk undermines all the values the EU has been created to uphold. The Court of Justice is now capable of moving in the direction of this disaster too — following a most dubious reference in a moot case submitted in abuse of Article TFEU. Anything is possible here, as Davies has shown , even if Guy Verhofstadt fails. There are at least four key problems with associate citizenship idea as a way to mitigate the Brexit disaster.

    Firstly, whether Verhofstadt likes it or not, in Europe — and the UK is included — democracy remains valuable. This is our core distinguishing feature from the majority of other continents and blocs around the world. Even more, the Union is under a legal obligation to remain more or less a democracy it is under Article 2 TEU and not to undermine the democracies of the Member States — and their constitutional traditions as per Article 4 2 TEU.

    Respecting British democracy and the functioning of UK institutions is one of the core obligations lying on the EU. To make sure there is no overreach in other cases in the future, Brexit should not become a pretext for a power-grab. Respecting national constitutional traditions and democracies means precisely that: allowing the UK and its nationals to decide. A popular myth that preservation of rights is the core concern of a democracy rather than creating a climate of solid legitimacy and national deliberation is of course questionable. Of course the MEPs know better than the misinformed millions of Brits.

    Yet, even if this were true, substituting the judgement of Madame Spinelli for the majority of the Brits would probably be incorrect. Even more so if such substitution signifies a move on the side of the EU to ignore its obligations under the values clauses of the Treaties. The trouble with righteousness, which usually presents the opponent as either not sufficiently educated to understand or as an outright silly person in need of compassion, instead of political rights, is that it ignores a basic wisdom Sir Isaiah Berlin has once been surprised by so much : reasonable people who are perfectly sane and well-meaning can legitimately disagree on plenty of things.

    This is the crooked timber of humanity.

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