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EU Citizenship Law


In the 1990s, the European Union (EU) has created a common status called “European citizenship”. Yet, to date, the EU has no common citizenship policy; each Member State remains sovereign to determine “who” a European citizen is and the law relating to the access and loss of European citizenship is wholly fragmented between national legal systems. This research project aims to focus on the challenges and opportunities that this situation generates.

The project has two goals: [1] From a constitutional perspective, to reveal how citizenship systems function within a federal framework. Comparing citizenship laws in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, and the EU, the project examines when and under which circumstances states of a federation transfer exclusive or shared competence of citizenship law to the federal level; [2] From a policy perspective, to explore how European decision-makers could handle the dissimilarity, and what legislative changes could improve the cooperation of Member States with each other and with European institutions.  Does the EU have standards which govern – or could govern – acquisition and loss of citizenship? Should EU citizenship be disentangled from member state nationality? And is the duty of sincere cooperation able to generate a basic law governing nationality issues within the EU?

The project invites us to reflect on what it means to be “European” in the age of global mobility and freedom of movement and examines interrelations between national sovereignty, self-determination, and EU citizenship.