Understanding Citizenship: a Legal Historical Analysis

Introduced with the Maastricht Treaty under Art. 20-25 TFEU in an attempt to bring European citizens closer to the EU and to forge European identity, EU citizenship has evolved steadily since 1992. Following the British vote to leave the European Union on 23rd June 2016, questions of EU citizenship regainend prominence as well.

However, EU citizenship is often too complex or too vague for many citizens. While a majority of Europeans confirm they are aware of their rights as citizens of the European Union, they would also like to know more according to a Eurobarometer suvey (March 2018).

In order to understand the essence and scope of application of the supranational EU citizenship concept, one has to take into different elements : the Treaty framework, the derivate character of Union citizenship and its implementation through secondary law during the last 15 years. The different economic, social, civic and political rights conferred by EU citizenship are therefore as heterogenious as the different fundaments it is built on.

This lecture-debate on EU citizenship, given by a renowned expert in the field, aims to explore the legal dimensions of Union citizenship and to give a brief overview of the developments in the last 15 years. In view of current Brexit negotiations also including citizenship rights, special attention shall also be paid to the question of EU citizenship in the context of withdrawal from the EU.

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