17 Colum. J. Eur. L. 643 (2010)
Hadas Alexandra Jacobi, J.D., Columbia Law School, 2011; Editor-in-Chief, Columbia Journal of European Law, Vol. 17.
European rights have gradually come exceedingly closer to national rights with regard to their enforceability. They have also substantially grown in scope from their initial, limited target of economic integration to the political project of building a true European community, enabling the rise of a robust cluster of common European rights. With regard to the use of citizenship as an independent source of rights, the fountainhead may be pinpointed to the recognition of Article 18(1) EC (now Article 21(1) TFEU) as creating an independent right of free movement for all European Union (EU) citizens. Case C-208/09, Ilonka Sayn-Wittgenstein v. Landeshauptmann von Wien, provides a colorful example of a recent pushback against the European Court of Justice’s traditionally liberal interpretation of European Citizenship rights. The Court, in that case, finding that the fundamental principles implicated concerned a matter of national Austrian identity, placed those values ahead of an individual’s right to her identity as a citizen of the EU. The Sayn-Wittgenstein case thus presents a curious step back from an ever closer notion of European identity.