On Citizenship in the European Union
Professor, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Italy
Citizenship is a fundamental legal tool since the birth of the Nation-State. After the French revolution, it was increasingly conceived in unitary terms, so as to distinguish citizens from foreigners. However, some rights were recognized to the latter, especially at the end of the Nineteenth century. Other rights, more recently, have been recognized to all individuals, due to international charters of rights and European integration. The latter, in particular, erodes the privileges traditionally attached to citizenship as far as access to public administrations and welfare benefits is concerned. It also adds a new status, the citizenship of the European Union. Though this differs remarkably from national ones, it influences them, to the extent to which it makes citizenship still more layered. This raises new questions, of both practical importance, which must be dealt with by legal science. It also determines the need to adjust some traditional theoretical categories.