Citizenship, today, is a concept in crisis. At the international level, migration poses significant questions of justice with regard to citizenship as an exclusionary status; while at the regional and domestic level, citizenship is being challenged by growing nativist politics and arbitrary exercises of naturalisation powers. One site where this crisis can be observed is the citizenship of the European Union (EU). First, Brexit has shown that EU citizenship as an inclusive status beyond nationality is fragile and contingent. Second, arbitrary naturalisation by States according to domestic rules ensures that EU citizenship suffers from the same exclusionary problems as national citizenship. These two problems, I argue, are not the prime vices from which EU citizenship suffers. The biggest flaw in the concept of citizenship is found in the absence of citizenship, namely statelessness. By failing to consider the ‘other’, i.e., the problem of statelessness, judgments of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on citizenship and ‘third-country nationals’ leave this problem unaddressed. Existing academic research has suggested a range of solutions, from harmonising norms on statelessness and acquisition of citizenship (Swider and Den Heijer) to relaxing criteria for naturalisation (Swoboda), decoupling of local, national, and regional citizenship (Bauböck), and establishing EU citizenship as a subsidiary status protecting against statelessness (Kostakopoulou). In this article, I propose to review these solutions and the literature on statelessness in the context of EU citizenship. Choosing EU citizenship as an instance of the broader citizenship crisis, I argue that the framework of international human rights provides a way out by further separating the two facets of citizenship—the political facet of citizenship as identity/nationality and the legal facet of citizenship as a status that enables a person to have rights.
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A term used by Bauböck to designate intertwined citizenship regimes. See Rainer Bauböck, ‘Studying Citizenship Constellations’ (2010) 36(5) Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 847, 848.
See generally Yasemin Nuhoğlu Soysal, Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe (University of Chicago Press 1994).
Audrey Macklin, ‘Who Is the Citizen’s Other? Considering the Heft of Citizenship’ (2007) 8(2) Theoretical Inquiries in Law. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/til.2007.8.issue-2/til.2007.8.2.1153/til.2007.8.2.1153.xml. Accessed 20 July 2020; Hélène Lambert, ‘Nationality and Statelessness before the European Court of Human Rights: A Landmark Judgment but What about Article 3 ECHR?’ (Strasbourg Observers, 16 May 2018). https://strasbourgobservers.com/2018/05/16/nationality-and-statelessness-before-the-european-court-of-human-rights-a-landmark-judgment-but-what-about-article-3-echr/. Accessed 22 October 2020; Jessica Parra, ‘Stateless Roma in the European Union: Reconciling the Doctrine of Sovereignty concerning Nationality Laws with International Agreements to Reduce and Avoid Statelessness Note’ (2011) 34(6) Fordham International Law Journal 1666.
See Linda Bosniak, ‘Persons and Citizens in Constitutional Thought’ (2010) 8(1) International Journal of Constitutional Law 9.
The different Minority Treaties of the League of Nations, the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness are all examples of legal norms evolved during this time period. See generally Peter J Spiro, ‘A New International Law of Citizenship’ (2011) 105 American Journal of International Law 694, 698 ff.
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1973) 296.
Sandra Seubert, ‘Antinomies of European Citizenship: On the Conflictual Passage of a Transnational Membership Regime’ in Jürgen Mackert and Bryan S Turner (eds), The Transformation of Citizenship (Routledge 2017) 139.
Liberal models of citizenship historically were distinguished from republican models of citizenship. While the latter emphasised the political dimension of citizenship, the former placed the emphasis on the legal aspects of citizenship such as rights and duties.
Seubert, ‘Antinomies of European Citizenship’ (n 7) 140.
Goodwin-Gill as quoted in Michelle Foster and Hélène Lambert, ‘Statelessness as a Human Rights Issue: A Concept Whose Time Has Come’ (2016) 28(4) International Journal of Refugee Law 564, 565.
See the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, art 1.
Foster and Lambert, ‘Statelessness as a Human Rights Issue’ (n 10) section 3.
Indira Goris, Julia Harrington, and Sebastian Koehn, ‘Statelessness: What It Is and Why It Matters’ (2009) 32 Forced Migration Review 4; Foster and Lambert, ‘Statelessness as a Human Rights Issue’ (n 10).
Tendayi Bloom, Katherine Tonkiss, and Phillip Cole, ‘Introduction: Providing a Framework for Understanding Statelessness’ in Tendayi Bloom, Katherine Tonkiss, and Phillip Cole (eds), Understanding Statelessness (Routledge 2017) 4.
See generally Jürgen Mackert and Bryan S Turner (eds), The Transformation of Citizenship (Routledge 2017).
Seubert, ‘Antinomies of European Citizenship’ (n 7) 139.
Both ideas denote conceptions of citizenship with sub-national levels, i.e., urban, regional, and national citizenship. See, e.g., Rainer Bauböck, ‘The Three Levels of Citizenship within the European Union’ (2014) 15(5) German Law Journal 751; Bauböck, ‘Studying Citizenship Constellations’ (n 1).
Niamh Nic Shuibhne, ‘The Developing Legal Dimensions of Union Citizenship’ in Anthony Arnull and Damian Chalmers (eds), The Oxford Handbook of European Union Law (Oxford University Press 2015) 506.
Elizabeth Rigby, ‘EU Migrants Moving to UK Balanced by Britons Living Abroad’ (Financial Times, 10 February 2014). https://www.ft.com/content/5cd640f6-9025-11e3-a776-00144feab7de. Accessed 31 December 2020; James Morrison, ‘Re-framing Free Movement in the Countdown to Brexit? Shifting UK Press Portrayals of EU Migrants in the Wake of the Referendum’ (2019) 21(3) British Journal of Politics and International Relations 594.
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Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No. 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC, and 93/96/EEC (Text with EEA relevance) 2004 [32004L0038] arts 6 ff.
Bauböck, ‘The Three Levels of Citizenship’ (n 17) 758–759.
See in general Thomas Huddleston, ‘Naturalisation in Context: How Nationality Laws and Procedures Shape Immigrants’ Interest and Ability to Acquire Nationality in Six European Countries’ (2020) 8 Comparative Migration Studies 18; Jules Lepoutre, ‘Citizenship Loss and Deprivation in the European Union (27 + 1)’ (EUI Working Paper RSCAS 2020/29) 36; ‘MIPEX 2020—Data Analysis Tool’. https://www.mipex.eu/play/. Accessed 03 January 2021.
Seubert, ‘Antinomies of European Citizenship’ (n 7) 139.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Global Action Plan to End Statelessness 2014–2024’ (4 November 2014) 7. https://www.refworld.org/docid/545b47d64.html. Accessed 29 December 2020; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Refugee Data Finder’ (8 December 2020). https://www.unhcr.org/refugee-statistics/. Accessed 29 December 2020.
Dora Kostakopoulou, ‘Scala Civium: Citizenship Templates Post-Brexit and the European Union’s Duty to Protect EU Citizens’ (2018) 56(4) JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies 854, 865–866; Katja Swider and Maarten den Heijer, ‘Why Union Law Can and Should Protect Stateless Persons’ (2017) 19(2) European Journal of Migration and Law 101.
Hannes Swoboda, ‘Don’t Start with Europeans First: An Initiative for Extending Voting Rights Should Also Promote Access to Citizenship for Third Country Nationals’ in Rainer Bauböck (ed), Debating European Citizenship (Springer Nature 2019) 55–56; Rainer Bauböck (ed), Debating European Citizenship (Springer Nature 2019).
Treaty on European Union (signed 07 February 1992, entered into force 01 November 1993) (TEU).
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (signed 13 December 2007, entered into force 01 December 2009).
Zhou and Chen v United Kingdom (2004) European Court of Justice C-200/02 .
Mario Vicente Micheletti and Others v Delegación del Gobierno en Cantabria (1992) European Court of Justice C-369/90.
Nottebohm Case ( Liechtenstein v Guatemala) Second Phase 22 ILR 349 (International Court of Justice).
The Queen v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte: Manjit Kaur (2001) European Court of Justice C-192/99.
Janko Rottmann v Freistaat Bayern (2010) European Court of Justice C-135/08.
Mario Vicente Micheletti and Others v Delegación del Gobierno en Cantabria (n 31) 10.
Dimitry Kochenov, ‘Where Is EU Citizenship Going? The Fraudulent Dr. Rottmann and the State of the Union in Europe’ in Leila Simona Talani (ed), Globalisation, Migration, and the Future of Europe: Insiders and Outsiders (Routledge 2012) 240; Jo Shaw, ‘Setting the Scene: The Rottmann Case Introduced’ in Jo Shaw (ed), Has the European Court of Justice Challenged Member State Sovereignty in Nationality Law? (EUI Working Papers RSCAS 2011/62) 1.
Dimitry Kochenov, ‘Two Sovereign States vs. a Human Being: CJEU as a Guardian of Arbitrariness in Citizenship Matters’ in Shaw, Has the European Court of Justice Challenged Member State Sovereignty in Nationality Law? (n 39) 13.
MG Tjebbes and Others v Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken (2019) European Court of Justice C-221/17.
Ibid. [44, 45].
Gerardo Ruiz Zambrano v Office National de l’Emploi (2011) C-34/09 (European Court of Justice).
See Luke Dimitrios Spieker, ‘Breathing Life into the Union’s Common Values: On the Judicial Application of Article 2 TEU in the EU Value Crisis’ (2019) 20(8) German Law Journal 1182, 1189; Armin von Bogdandy and Luke Dimitrios Spieker, ‘Countering the Judicial Silencing of Critics: Article 2 TEU Values, Reverse Solange, and the Responsibilities of National Judges’ (2019) 15 European Constitutional Law Review 391.
A point noted by Joseph HH Weiler, ‘Thou Shalt Not Oppress a Stranger: On the Judicial Protection of the Human Rights of Non-EC Nationals—A Critique’ (1992) 3 European Journal of International Law 65; and reiterated by Spieker, ‘Breathing Life into the Union’s Common Values’ (n 45).
See generally Marcus Klamert and Dimitry Kochenov, ‘Article 2 TEU’ in Manuel Kellerbauer, Marcus Klamert, and Jonathan Tomkin (eds), Commentary on the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Oxford University Press 2019) 22.
Dora Kostakopoulou, The Future Governance of Citizenship (Cambridge University Press 2008); Bauböck, ‘Studying Citizenship Constellations’ (n 1).
For two of these contributions, see Kostakopoulou, ‘Scala Civium’ (n 26); Bauböck, ‘The Three Levels of Citizenship’ (n 17).
See Dora Kostakopoulou, ‘Thick, Thin and Thinner Patriotisms: Is This All There Is?’ (2006) 26(1) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 73.
Ibid. 93 ff.
See Ruth Rubio-Marin, Immigration as a Democratic Challenge: Citizenship and Inclusion in Germany and the United States (Cambridge University Press 2000).
Bauböck, ‘Studying Citizenship Constellations’ (n 1) 854 ff.
See Kostakopoulou, ‘Scala Civium’ (n 26); Theodora Kostakopoulou, Citizenship, Identity and Immigration in the European Union: Between Past and Future (Manchester University Press 2009).
Dora Kostakopoulou, ‘Who Should Be a Citizen of the Union? Toward an Autonomous European Union Citizenship’ (Verfassungsblog, 16 January 2019). https://verfassungsblog.de/who-should-be-a-citizen-of-the-union-toward-an-autonomous-european-union-citizenship/. Accessed 03 March 2021.
Richard Bellamy, ‘On Mushroom Reasoning and Kostakopoulou’s Argument for Eurozenship’ (Verfassungsblog, 16 January 2019). https://verfassungsblog.de/on-mushroom-reasoning-and-kostakopoulous-argument-for-eurozenship/. Accessed 03 March 2021.
Bauböck, ‘The Three Levels of Citizenship’ (n 17) 751.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) art 15.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976) 999 UNTS 171 arts 12 and 13.
Notwithstanding some political rights under article 25.
See Mercedes Masters and Salvador Santino F Regilme Jr, ‘Human Rights and British Citizenship: The Case of Shamima Begum as Citizen to Homo Sacer’ (2020) 12(2) Journal of Human Rights Practice 341.
Manfred Nowak, U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR Commentary (2nd rev edn, Engel 2005) 261; emphasis in original.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (n 68) art 12(1).
Nowak, U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (n 71) 261 para 3 and 263 paras 8, 9.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (n 68) art 12(3).
Nowak, U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (n 71) 273 para 31.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (n 68) art 12(4).
Deepan Budlakoti v Canada (2018) Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/122/D/2264/2013.
Deepan Budlakoti, ‘Locked-Up and In Limbo: Living Stateless in My Hometown Jail’ (2020) 29 Journal of Prisoners on Prisons 79.
Deepan Budlakoti v Canada (n 78) [9.7].
Stewart v Canada (1996) Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/58/D/538/1993.
Nowak, U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (n 71) 286; Macklin, ‘Who Is the Citizen’s Other?’ (n 3).
Ramadan v Malta (2016) European Court of Human Rights 76136/12.
See, e.g., Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, ‘Ramadan v. Malta: When Will the Strasbourg Court Understand That Nationality Is a Core Human Rights Issue?’ (Strasbourg Observers, 22 July 2016). https://strasbourgobservers.com/2016/07/22/ramadan-v-malta-when-will-the-strasbourg-court-understand-that-nationality-is-a-core-human-rights-issue/. Accessed 03 March 2021; Lambert, ‘Nationality and Statelessness’ (n 3).
Hoti v Croatia (2018) European Court of Human Rights 63311/14.
See Barbara von Rütte, ‘Social Identity and the Right to Belong—The ECtHR’s Judgment in Hoti v. Croatia’ (2019) 24 Tilburg Law Review 147.
Hoti v Croatia (n 87) para 119.
Mennesson v France (2014) European Court of Human Rights App No. 65192/11; Labassee v France (2014) European Court of Human Rights 65941/11.
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Marie-Bénédicte Dembour, When Humans Become Migrants: Study of the European Court of Human Rights with an Inter-American Counterpoint (Oxford University Press 2015) 131.
Expelled Dominicans and Haitians v Dominican Republic (2014) (Inter-American Court of Human Rights).
European Convention on Nationality (opened for signature 06 November 1997, entered into force 01 March 2000) ETS No. 166.
Council of Europe Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession (opened for signature 19 May 2006, entered into force 01 May 2009) CETS No. 200.
Jindal Global Law School Centre for Public Interest Law, ‘Securing Citizenship—India’s Legal Obligations towards Precarious Citizens and Stateless Persons’ (2020) 67.
A term used by Kostakopoulou in several of her articles on EU citizenship, see e.g., Dora Kostakopoulou, ‘Who Should Be a Citizen of the Union? Toward an Autonomous European Union Citizenship’ in Liav Orgad and Jules Lepoutre (eds), Should EU Citizenship Be Disentangled from Member State Nationality? (2019). https://www.ssrn.com/abstract=3372837. Accessed 16 March 2021.
See, e.g., Peter J Spiro, Citizenship: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press 2020); Peter J Spiro, ‘Dual Citizenship as Human Right’ (2010) 8(1) International Journal of Constitutional Law 111; Soysal, Limits of Citizenship (n 2).
Bauböck, ‘The Three Levels of Citizenship’ (n 17).
See, e.g., Dimitry Kochenov, ‘The Tjebbes Fail’ (2019) 4(1) European Papers 319; Shaw, ‘Setting the Scene: The Rottmann Case Introduced’ (n 39).
Kochenov, ‘The Tjebbes Fail’ (n 105); Kochenov, ‘Where Is EU Citizenship Going?’ (n 39).
Kadi and Al Barakaat International Foundation v Council of the European Union and Commission of the European Communities (2008) European Court of Justice C-402/05.
J Kokott and C Sobotta, ‘The Kadi Case: Constitutional Core Values and International Law—Finding the Balance?’ (2012) 23(4) European Journal of International Law 1015, 1017.
Such as the ICCPR, UN Convention Against Torture, and the ECHR (non-exhaustive list).
See, e.g., Koen Lenaerts, ‘EU Citizenship and the European Court of Justice’s “Stone-by-Stone” Approach’ (2015) 1(1) International Comparative Jurisprudence 1.
Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History (Harvard University Press 2012).
See generally Carole Pateman, Participation and Democratic Theory (Cambridge University Press 1970).
See, e.g., Jeremy Waldron, ‘Participation: The Right of Rights’ (1998) 98(3) Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 307.
See in general Dipika Jain, ‘Law-Making by and for the People: A Case for Pre-legislative Processes in India’ (2020) 41(2) Statute Law Review 189; Roger C Cramton, ‘The Why, Where and How of Broadened Public Participation in the Administrative Process’ (1972) 60(3) Georgetown Law Journal 27.
See, e.g., Fleur Dargent and Ariane Vidal-Naquet, La consultation en droit public interne (2016); Florian Pinel, ‘La participation du citoyen à la décision administrative’ (Droit, Université Rennes 1 2018). https://tel.archives-ouvertes.fr/tel-02498451. Accessed 03 January 2021; Ulrich Arndt, ‘Die Bürgerbeteiligung im Allgemeinen Verwaltungsrecht’ (2015) 130(1) Deutsches Verwaltungsblatt 6. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/dvbl.2015.130.issue-1/dvbl-2015-0104/dvbl-2015-0104.xml. Accessed 15 February 2021.
Bellamy, ‘On Mushroom Reasoning and Kostakopoulou’s Argument for Eurozenship’ (n 57).
I would like to thank Romit Sarkar, Gangotri Hazarika Nath, Harini Raghupathy, and Moksha Sharma for their help and suggestions. I also would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their comments and criticism.
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Weigelt, T. A walk on the ‘rights’ side: EU citizenship reform based on international human rights law. Jindal Global Law Review 12, 9–27 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41020-021-00140-x