The European Court of Justice and Citizenship of the European Union: New Developments Towards a Truly Fundamental Status
Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law, Vol. 5, Issue 4, pp. 498-537, December 2011
40 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2011 Last revised: 22 Feb 2012
Date Written: September 14, 2011
In two recent, revolutionary decisions, – Janko Rottmann C-135/08 and Ruiz Zambrano C-34/09 – the European Court of Justice has firmly emancipated the status of citizenship of the Union from the “cross-border” requirement and has inaugurated a new area for the protection of rights closely linked to the core of sovereignty of States, nationality and residence. This Article examines these two judgments and argues that they advance the construction of citizenship towards a federal status. The “genuine enjoyment of the substance of citizenship rights” has emerged as a new legal category capable of providing a uniform and general protection and entails the affirmation of a core of rights of supranational nature. This new development raises questions as to whether the ECJ’s expansionist reading of citizenship constitutes a legitimate exercise of judicial power and what the relationship between citizenship and EU fundamental rights will be. We conclude by exploring the potential of the analyzed judgments in placing Union citizenship at the center of the emergence of a constitutional patriotism in Europe.
Keywords: European law, federalism, Union citizenship, migration, constitutional patriotism
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