Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has made a number of important
interventions which have resulted in procuring transformative institutional change.2
Following a period of judicial minimalism (1993–1997), the importance of the
normative template of equal treatment entailed by Union citizenship was highlighted
by the CJEU in Martinez Sala (this was a phase of ‘signalling intentions’).3In the new
millennium, the Court proceeded to transform it into living instrument by adopting
more robust normative frames which have had an empowering effect on EU citizens.
In addition to the Court’s decisive interventions, the adoption of the Citizenship
Directive, the fully binding Charter of Fundamental Rights, the appointment of a
Commissioner in charge of the ‘Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship’ DG, the
adoption of the Stockholm Programme on an ‘open and secure Europe serving and
protecting the citizen’ and an ambitious policy programme aiming at removing obsta-
cles to the exercise of EU citizenship rights adopted by the Barosso II Commission,4
all have reinforced EU citizenship and opened up possibilities for its broadening and
Encouraged by these developments, scholars diagnose a new chapter in European
federalism and anticipate a linkage between fundamental rights and EU citizenship so
that EU citizens, be they ‘static’ or ‘mobile’, can invoke both within the parameters
established by the EU law.6But such assessments might be premature. In what
follows, I argue that a combination of hope and caution ought to accompany the tale
of the evolution of the experimental institution of EU citizenship.7Contradictory
processes of inclusion and greater equalisation coexist with exclusionary processes,
and these would have to be taken into account, and be fully addressed, by perspec-
tives on EU citizenship’s present as well as future. Probing into the not-so-clearly
visible edges of EU citizenship, that is, the moments when EU citizens are treated as
aliens or foreigners, and the troublesome ambiguities, tensions and limitations sur-
rounding them, reveals the gaps in the protection of EU citizens and the constraints
that stand in the way of change in the institutional scheme of things.
The subsequent discussion is structured as follows. Section 1 briefly discusses the
archetypical account of EU citizenship, while in section 2 I shift the attention from the
centre to the ‘margins’. Three case studies addressing the ‘edgelands’ of EU citizen-
ship reveal how easy it is for the EU citizen status to be shaken off and thus to
become devoid of significance as national sovereignty and state power reassert them-
selves, thereby turning EU citizens into foreigners. Shedding light onto these edges of
554–572; A. Wiener, ‘Assessing the Constructive Potential of Union-Citizenship—A Socio-Historical
Perspective’ (1997) 1(17) European Integration On-line Papers (http://eiop.or.at/eiop/); Building Institu-
tions: The Developing Practice of European Citizenship (Westview, 1998).
2I borrow this from T. Kostakopoulou, ‘Ideas, Norms and European Citizenship’, (2005) 65(2) Modern
Law Review 233–267.
42013 has also been designated as the European Year of Citizens; Proposal for a Decision of the
European Parliament and the Council on the European Year of Citizens (2013) COM (2011) 489.
5See T. Kostakopoulou, ‘Co-creating EU Citizenship: Institutional Process and Crescive Norms’, (Forth-
coming, 2013) 15 Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 255–281.
6D. Kochenov, ‘The Citizenship Paradigm’, (Forthcoming, 2013) 15 Cambridge Yearbook of European
Legal Studies 197–225.
7See further, T. Kostakopoulou, ‘The European Court of Justice, Member State Autonomy and Euro-
pean Union Citizenship: Conjunctions and Disjunctions’, in B. de Witte and Hans-W. Micklitz (eds.)
The European Court of Justice and the Autonomy of the Member States (Intersentia, 2012), at 175–203,
177 et seq.
European Law Journal Volume 20
448 © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.