All Rights Reserved? Barriers Towards European Citizenship (bEUcitizen)
The European Court of Justice expects European citizenship to become the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States. It lies at the heart of the European integration process. The treaties, legislation, and case law have given Europeans an increasing number of rights. Yet the European Commission complains that these remain underused. Therefore, it has included in FP7 a call for a large-scale IP, identifying and analysing barriers to exercising such European citizenship rights.
Utrecht University is initiating a response to this call. In its project proposal it identifies research questions and several categories of potential hindrances as answers to some of them: contradictions between different rights, multilevel rights, and differences in priorities Member States accord these rights; differences in political, administrative, and legal institutions; financial restraints; lack of sufficient solidarity; administrative and bureaucratic hurdles; language problems; and other practical barriers to claiming and exercising rights - and related duties. Furthermore we distinguish citizenship rights by the types of rights - economic, social, political, and civil - and by the ascribed characteristics of the subjects of these rights: male and female, young and old, native and immigrant.
We believe multidisciplinarity will help in identifying and analysing barriers to the exercise of European citizenship. We can learn from other times and places; therefore we add a historical and comparative dimension to the analysis. And we aim to combine insights from the historical, legal, and social sciences. Overall we want to investigate the options for a multi-layered citizenship true to the EU's motto 'In Varietate Concordia'.