October 31
2020

EU citizenship is a politically and legally contested concept, it is dynamic and it has been debated ever since its introduction almost 25 years ago in the Treaty of Maastricht. Questioning EU Citizenship is a rich collection, it is a timely and significant contribution to the ongoing debates on EU citizenship.

European citizenship case law was once compared to ‘diamonds in the sky’ (Principled Citizenship’ and the Process of European Constitutionalization – From a Pie in the Sky to a Sky with Diamonds by Prof. Xavier Groussot). At that time the case law of EU citizenship was heading towards social citizenship, by the case law of the Court of Justice. However, that direction has been shifted since cases such as Dano, as discussed in the chapter by Šadl and Sankari in this volume. Nowadays, EU citizenship as a concept can perhaps be compared with a rock-crystal: every time you look at it you can discover new reflections and what you see depends on how the light falls. There are certainly rough sides, sides that may hurt, there are also, at the same time, glittering sides. There is a potential (‘destined to be the fundamental status’), which is still in the dark, is unrevealed. This volume scatters light on the multifaceted structure of EU citizenship and its rights. It includes a comprehensive overview of the different sides of the stone to discover: from the social benefits, to how it is shaped and polished by judicial developments and the relationship it has with its broader context, like European migration law.

The question why and how judicial polishing of EU citizenship is taking place is a highly relevant question. Šadl and Sankari conclude that the Court has become more sensitive to the (economic) concerns of Members States in EU citizenship case law. In their contribution they compare the case law before and after Dano, since the case of Dano was a significant change in the Courts’ approach. The authors did not only look at the legal reasoning, but included the institutional context as well. Other contributions analyse EU citizenship from a Brexit-perspective (Susanne K Schmidt), or the other interesting gemstone of EU law: the relationship between EU citizenship and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Niamh Nic Shuibhne) or the relationship between EU citizenship and constitutional developments in the EU (Daniel Thym). The general trend that Member States’ concerns are reflected in the case law is very clear from this volume, while at the same time there is a tendency to weigh personal circumstances, which can also be problematic (Kochenov).

The volume is highly recommended for anyone interested in EU citizenship, since it gives a broad and comprehensive overview of the different sides of the same stone. It is to be praised that the volume includes three main lines of thought, which are interconnected: the rationale of EU citizenship, the judicial shaping of EU citizenship and the nexus between EU citizenship and migration law.

Dr. Hanneke van Eijken is an Assistant Professor of EU law, and Researcher in the Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe & the Utrecht Centre for European Research into Family law & Empirical Legal Research into Institutions for Conflict Resolution, at Utrecht University. Her research focuses on EU citizenship and constitutional developments.

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