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General overview

Current general issues under discussion on EU citizenship:

1. The acquisition of citizenship status. The European Union does not have authority to grant the status of citizen; it can be acquired only through nationality of one of the Member States. The exclusive competence of the member states to determine who is a national, and therefore an EU citizen, deprives the

Community of the right to decide who is subjected to the EC law. The idea of a “European citizenship” is considered one of the least successful and confounding aspects of the Maastricht treaty.


2. The stronger identity of national citizenship. In case of conflicts between citizenship rights and duties attached at the federal and the sub-state level, it is the national citizenship that will take priority.


3. A lack of accountability in the European Union. It does not have a separate legislative or executive branch. Nicolaïdis (2005) contends that, the European Commission that comprises nationals from every member state holds more power than any national administration, is unelected. Though the ministers on the council ought to address the views and problems emanating from their national constituencies, they can easily claim to have been outnumbered and hence outvoted in Brussels. Similarly, the parliament cannot enact legislations and does not have any control over the disbursement of resources.


4. Hampering the position of foreign residents. The excluding foreign residents from Union citizenship has further hampered their position in the European societies. Every new privilege enshrined in the European Union citizenship puts non-EU migrants in a worse position. The effect of Union citizenship on EU nationals can best be explained by the example of Germany where immigrants constitute 10 per cent of the total population of which 75 per cent come from non-EU countries. The EU citizenship has established a hierarchical relation between citizens of member states and third country nationals.


Those who are taking advantage of the European project by extending aspects of their life beyond national borders, through travel, study, work, marriage, retirement, buying or inheriting property, voting, or just shopping online from companies established in other Member States, should fully enjoy their rights under the Treaties.

However, a gap still remains between the applicable legal rules and the reality confronting citizens in their daily lives, particularly in cross-border situations.

EU citizens may encounter obstacles in the enjoyment of their rights in various roles in their lives: either as private individuals, consumers of goods and services, students and professionals or as political actors. Here are some common problems that EU have faced recently:


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