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From Cosmopolitan Individual Status (French Civil Code of 1804) and “l’exercice des droits civils” to EU Citizenship

  • Valentina ColcelliEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The Court of Justice of the European Union has introduced the expression ‘fundamental status’ when referring to ideas of European citizenship. Staring from the characteristics of EU citizenship, we demonstrate that the idea of a super-regional status for individual citizens can be found in Renaissance civil law and the French civil code of Napoleon. The Code civil des Français (Article 7) used the enjoyment of civil rights—hence private law instruments—to realize the philosophical and political idea of the French Enlightenment of equal rights for free individuals who were protected equally by the law. The European Union too, through a ‘functional use’ of private law instruments and the enlargement across boundaries of the legal capacity of citizens, despite principle of reciprocity, has realized a general principle of EU law: the principle of non-discrimination among EU citizens. To say that an EU citizen is really free in the exercise of civil rights in a host country is something more than subscribing to a contract (such as the Napoleonic Code). It is the concrete awareness that non-discrimination is a central focus of EU rights.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research CouncilIFAC InstituteSesto Fiorentino, FirenzeItaly

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