Third Country Nationals as Euro-Citizens - The Case Defended
WHOSE EUROPE? THE TURN TOWARDS DEMOCRACY, pp. 104-122, D. Smith, Sue Wright, eds., London: Blackwell, 1999
20 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2011
Date Written: 1999
The Amsterdam Treaty bolsters Union Citizenship in order to bring the European Union closer to the citizens of Europe . Inadvertently, this strategy gives citizens of non-EU states an inferior status in the European Union, even though they may be semi-permanent residents in a Member State. Union Citizenship increases the social and political exclusion of third country nationals, in violation of the basic democratic principle that those affected by social institutions should also enjoy political levers of influence. The paper first briefly sketches a Liberal Contractualist defense for awarding this group full citizenship in the relevant Member State, arguing in particular for three somewhat contested issues, that:
a) third country nationals should not only enjoy Union Citizenship, but also be given national citizenship in the Member State of residence. b) Member states may impose conditions, oaths etc. on such prospective citizens. c) Member States may withhold some privileges from those resident third country nationals who refuse to be naturalised.
The paper goes on to present and discuss, only to dismiss, the most plausible arguments offered in defence of current practice within the context of a Europe of open borders for Member State citizens. These arguments seek to deny citizenship to third country nationals in order:
a) To protect national and locally endorsed values ensuring social homogeneity of the community; b) To exclude people with non-liberal values; c) To ensure commitment to a shared future which warrants democratic rights in the first place; d) To avoid instability caused by citizens with conflicting multiple loyalties; e) To ensure and foster the ideal of active political participation, impossible for dual citizens; f) To avoid backlash problems among current EU citizens which threaten the stability of welfare policies of Member States and the EU.
Keywords: T Amsterdam treaty, Third country nationals (TCN), EU, citizenship, liberal contractualism
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