Shifting Boundaries of Membership: The politicisation of free movement as a challenge for EU citizenship

Author:Sandra Seubert
Publication Date:01 Mar 2020
Shifting Boundaries of Membership: The
politicisation of free movement as a challenge for
EU citizenship
Sandra Seubert
This article discusses freedom of movement under the lens of shifting boundaries of membership
and traces the tension between the political and the economic rationale of European integration. It
first reflects on the normativity of free movement and links it to the foundations of modern demo-
cratic citizenship. Subsequently, it discusses the role of free movement in the construction of EU cit-
izenship and argues that the genesis in market integration casts a long shadow which hinders EU
citizenship's potential to fully display the logic of political and social equality. Under current condi-
tions of huge wealth discrepancies between member states, the prevailing form of horizontal inte-
gration necessarily brings about a tension between mobility and solidarity, which in turn creates a
barrier for further developing EU citizenship. It is concluded that strengthening an intra-European
dimension of solidarity is needed in order to substantiate the right to move as an equal European
citizenship right.
Free movement for persons is at the core of EU citizenship. As first introduced in the Maastricht Treaty (1992) it
guarantees the right to move and reside freely within the Territory of the member states.
Originally emanating as
part of the four freedomsconstituting the common market the introduction of a European citizenship status
May Joana Mendes and Harm Schepel, the former Editors-in-Chief who accepted these manuscripts for publication, be thanked for their work and
contribution to the European Law Journal.
*Professor of Political Theory, Department of Political Science, Goethe University Frankfurt a.M., Germany; email: I would
like to thank Rainer Bauböck, Sandra Eckert, Dimitrios Efthymiou, Matthias Goldmann and participants of the Panel The right to move. Perspectives on
transnational citizenship in the EUat the ECPR General Conference, Hamburg 2018 for valuable discussions and comments. I also would like to thank the
anonymous reviewers for their extraordinary helpful comments and suggestions. This study was funded by Seventh Framework Programme, Grant/Award
Number: 320294SSH.2012.1-1.
Art. 21, TFEU.
Received: 1 February 2019 Revised: 8 July 2019 Accepted: 16 September 2019
DOI: 10.1111/eulj.12346
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which
permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no
modifications or adaptations are made.
© 2019 The Author. European Law Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd
48 Eur Law J. 2020;

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