15 Colum. J. Eur. L. 239 (2009)

Marlene Wind. Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen.

As a result of recent developments in the European Union, governments no longer have the exclusive authority to decide who can reside and work in their territories or who is eligible for the social provisions that have traditionally been reserved for their own nationals. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently interpreted Union citizenship to confer the benefits associated with EU free movement rights on all citizens of EU Member States. According to the ECJ, there is now so much “financial solidarity” between the EU Member States that citizens of other Member States have become eligible for non-contributory social assistance in the host state. The much criticized citizenship concept adopted in the Maastricht Treaty is thus gradually gaining some of the substance that was originally accredited to it. The link between territoriality, membership, and national solidarity characterizing classical concepts of citizenship is thus undergoing transformation and turning citizenship in Europe into a truly post-national phenomenon. By combining insights drawn from law and political science, the article analyzes how this transformation of citizenship in Europe has come about. The study demonstrates that the concept of Union citizenship has evolved from political rhetoric to become one of the Community’s most important principles.