15 Colum. J. Eur. L. 169 (2009)
Dimitry Kochenov LL.M. (CEU, Budapest), LL.D. (Groningen). Assistant Professor of European Law, Department of Corporate and European Law, and Fellow of the Graduate School of Law, University of Groningen. Oude Kijk in ‘t Jatstraat 26, 9712EK Groningen, The Netherlands. Parts of this article have been presented at the UACES annual conferences in Portsmouth (September 2007) and Edinburgh (September 2008), at a conference at the Birmingham School of Law (July 2008), and made the core of my Byrd Lecture at James Madison University (October 2008). I am grateful to Prof. Dr. Laurence W. Gormley, Prof. Dr. Jan H. Jans, Dr. John Morijn, Dr. Claudia Mureşan, Laura Nistor, Dr. John Scherpereel, Jacob van de Velden, and Spencer Wolff. Assistance of Harry Panagopulos is kindly acknowledged. Cara Eleonora, grazie.
The citizenship of the European Union is a rare example of a “fundamental status” which is entirely dependent on the specific features of the bearer, instead of vice versa, making any appeal to equality between European citizens impossible. Based on an overview of the legal essence and functioning of European citizenship both as a legal status and a bundle of rights, this paper provides a critical analysis of the current development of the European citizenship concept vis-à-vis both citizens and third-country nationals in the EU and addresses key issues which will have to be resolved to create a truly meaningful citizenship in Europe. The deficiencies of European citizenship are too important to resolve them rhetorically by appeals to the interplay between different legal orders in Europe. Sooner or later the outstanding problems will have to be addressed in a constructive way. The EU does not need a citizenship of unequals by law.