Patriots in the Making? Migrants, Citizens, and Demos Building in the European Union



Almost 20 years ago, Jürgen Habermas launched the idea of constitutional patriotism as a proposed solution to the tension between citizenship and national identity in the European Union. Since then, constitutional patriotism has remained a key concept in debates on European Union (EU) citizenship and democracy. This article, as so many before it, scrutinizes the meaning and viability of the concept. Unlike most others, however, it focuses less on the content of the concept and more on the subjects to which it is assumed/supposed to apply. I argue, firstly, that constitutional patriotism is not a viable or even desirable ideal for the European demos in its totality. The potential patriots of the EU are not the large majority of European Union citizens who live in their home country but migrants from other member states and nonmember states who are foreigners in their host countries. Secondly and accordingly, I argue that advancing constitutional patriotism means improving the status of foreign nationals in general and third-country nationals in particular. Connecting the acquisition of EU citizenship to domicile as opposed to member state nationality is one venue for such improvement. I discuss what this could imply and defend it as a means of building a truly European demos.


Constitutional patriotism European union Postnational citizenship Migrants Demos building 


  1. Adonnino, P. (1985). A people’s Europe: reports from the Ad Hoc Committee. Bulletin of the European Communities, Supplement 7/85. Luxemburg: OOPEC.Google Scholar
  2. Bader, V. (2000). Practical philosophy and first admission. SAIS Review, 20(1), 39–59.Google Scholar
  3. Bauböck, R. (1997). Citizenship and national identities in the European Union. Harvard Jean Monnet Working Paper Google Scholar
  4. Bellamy, R. (2008). Evaluating Union citizenship: belonging, rights and participation within the EU. Citizenship Studies, 12(6), 597–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bellamy, R. (2000). Citizenship beyond the nation-state: the case of Europe. In N. O’Sullivan (Ed.), Political theory in transition. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Benedí Lahuerta, S. (2009). Race equality and TCNs, or how to fight discrimination with a discriminatory law. European Law Journal, 15(6), 738–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benhabib, S. (2002). The claims of culture: equality and diversity in the global era. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bhaba, J. (1999). Belonging in Europe: citizenship and post-national rights. Social Science Journal (March): International.Google Scholar
  9. Brubaker, R. (1992). Citizenship and nationhood in France and Germany. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. CEC. (1997). Second Report from the Commission on Citizenship of the Union, COM (97) 230 final. Brussels: European Commission.Google Scholar
  11. CEC. (1993). A citizen’s Europe (author: Pascal Fontaine). Luxemburg: Office for Official Publications of the EC.Google Scholar
  12. Closa, C. (1995). Citizenship of the Union and nationality of the member states. Common Market Law Review, 32, 487–518.Google Scholar
  13. d’Oliveira, H. U. J. (1995). Union citizenship: pie in the sky? In A. Rosas & E. Antola (Eds.), A citizen’s Europe: in search of a new order. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. de Waele, H. (2010). EU citizenship: revisiting its meaning, place and potential. European Journal of Migration and Law, 12, 319–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Delanty, G. (2000). Citizenship in a global age. Buckingham & Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Delanty, G. (1997). Models of citizenship: defining European identity and citizenship. Citizenship Studies, 1(3), 285–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Downes, T. (2001). Market citizenship: functionalism and fig leaves. In: R. Bellamy and A. Warleigh (Eds.) Citizenship and Governance in the European Union. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  18. Eurostat (2009). Population of foreign citizens in the EU27 in 2008. Eurostat newsrelease 184/2009. 16 December 2009.Google Scholar
  19. Faist, T. (2001). Social citizenship in the European Union: nested membership. Journal of Common Market Studies, 39(1), 37–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Falk, R. (2000). The decline of citizenship in an era of globalization. Citizenship Studies, 4(1), 5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fernández, C. (2003). The stranger within: Union citizenship and third country nationals. In B. Petersson & E. Clark (Eds.), Identity Dynamics and the Construction of Boundaries. Lund: Nordic Academic Press.Google Scholar
  22. Føllesdal, A. (1998). Third country nationals as Euro citizens: the case defended. ARENA Working Papers 98/9.Google Scholar
  23. García, S. (1997). European Union citizenship and identity: some challenges. In M. Roche & R. van Berkel (Eds.), European citizenship and social exclusion. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  24. Garot, M.-J. (1998). A new basis for citizenship: residence. In M. La Torre (Ed.), European citizenship: an institutional challenge. Kluwer Law International: Haag.Google Scholar
  25. Grimm, D. (1997). Does Europe need a constitution? In P. Gowan & P. Anderson (Eds.) The Question of Europe. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  26. Guild, E. (1996). The legal framework of citizenship of the European Union. In D. Cesarani & M. Fulbrook (Eds.), Citizenship, nationality and migration in Europe. London & New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Habermas, J. (2001). The post-national constellation and the future of democracy. In M. Pensky (Ed.), Jürgen Habermas: the post-national constellation. Political essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  28. Habermas, J. (1998). The inclusion of the Other: studies in political theory. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  29. Habermas, J. (1997). Reply to Grimm. In Peter Gowan and Perry Anderson (Eds.) The Question of Europe. London & New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  30. Habermas, J. (1996). Between facts and norms. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  31. Habermas, J. (1995). Citizenship and national identity: some reflections on the future of Europe. In R. Beiner (Ed.), Theorizing Citizenship. Albany: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  32. Habermas, J. (1989). The new conservatism: cultural criticism and the historians’ debate. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Hedemann-Robinson, M. (1996). Third-Country Nationals, European Union Citizenship, and Free Movement of Persons: a Time for Bridges rather than Divisions. Yearbook of European Law 1996.Google Scholar
  34. Iglesias Sánchez, S. (2009). Free movement of third country nationals in the European Union? European Law Journal, 15(6), 791–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kofman, E. (1995). Citizenship for some but not for others: spaces of citizenship in contemporary Europe. Political Geography, 14(2), 121–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kostakopoulou, D. (2007). European Union citizenship: writing the future. European Law Journal, 13(5), 623–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kostakopoulou, D. (2002). Long-term resident third country nationals in the European Union: normative expectations and institutional openings. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 28(3), 443–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lehning, P. B. (2001). European citizenship: towards a European identity. Law and Philosophy, 20, 239–282.Google Scholar
  39. Linklater, A. (1998). The transformation of political community. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  40. Lokrantz-Bernitz, H. (2004). Medborgarskapet i Sverige och Europa. Räckvidd och rättigheter. Uppsala: Iustus Förlag.Google Scholar
  41. Lutz, H. (1997). The limits of European-ness: immigrant women in Fortress Europe. Feminist Review, 57, 93–111.Google Scholar
  42. Maas, W. (2008). Migrants, states, and the EU citizenship’s unfulfilled promise. Citizenship Studies, 12(6), 583–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Martinello, M. (1997). The development of European Union citizenship: a critical evaluation. In M. Roche & R. van Berkel (Eds.), European Citizenship and Social Exclusion. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  44. Meehan, E. (1993). Citizenship and the European community. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Miller, D. (2000). Citizenship and national identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  46. Müller, J. W. (2008). A European constitutional patriotism? The case restated. European Law Journal, 14(5), 542–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. OED, Oxford English Dictionary Online. Accessed 29 April 2010.
  48. O’Leary, S. (1996). The evolving concept of community citizenship. From the free movement of persons to union citizenship. The Hague, London, Boston: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  49. Pocock, J. G. A. (1997). Deconstructing Europe. In P. Gowan and P. Anderson (Eds.) The Question of Europe. London & New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  50. Preuss, U. (1998). Citizenship in the European Union: a paradigm for transnational democracy? In D. Archibugi, D. Held, & M. Köhler (Eds.), Re-imagining political community: studies in cosmopolitan democracy. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  51. Reflection Group. (1995). Commission report of the Reflection Group. Luxemburg: OOPEC.Google Scholar
  52. Shore, C. (2000). Building Europe: the cultural politics of European integration. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Smith, A. D. (1997). National identity and European unity. In P. Gowan and P. Anderson (Eds.) The question of Europe. London & New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  54. Soysal, Y. (1994). Limits of citizenship. Migrants and postnational membership in Europe. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  55. Staples, H. (1999). The legal status of third country nationals resident in the EU. Haag: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  56. Todorov, T. (2005). The new world disorder: reflections of a European. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  57. Walzer, M. (1983). Spheres of justice. A defense of pluralism and equality. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  58. Warleigh, A (2001). Purposeful opportunists? EU institutions and the struggle over European CITIZENSHIP. In R. Bellamy and A. Warleigh (Eds.) Citizenship and GOVERNANCE in the European Union. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  59. Weiler, J. H. H. (1999a). To be a European citizen: eros and civilization. In The Constitution of Europe: ‘Do the New Clothes Have an Emperor?’ and other essays on European intregration. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  60. Weiler, J. H. H. (1999b). The transformation of Europe. In The Constitution of Europe: ‘Do the New Clothes Have an Emperor?’ and other essays on European intregration. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Weiler, J. H. H. (1997). Demos, Telos, Ethos and the Maastricht decision. In P. Gowan and P. Anderson (Eds.) The question of Europe. London & New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  62. Wiener, A. (1998). European citizenship practice: building institutions of a non-state. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MIMMalmö UniversityMalmöSweden

Personalised recommendations