The Concept of European Citizenship
Discuss about the European Union Law for European Citizenship.
Citizenship is defined as the status of being vested with the rights, duties and owing its legal allegiance to a state. Article 20(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that every member holding the nationality of the member state shall be the member of the Union. Citizen of the European Union, under article 20, have the right to move freely and reside in any of the member states of the European Union. The European Union, citizenship and fundamental rights were discussed elaborately by the European Court of Justice in the case of Zambrano case C-34/09. The concept of European Citizenship was first introduced in the Maastricht Treaty in the year 1993. The concept of European Citizenship as mentioned in the Maastricht Treaty also finds mention in sections 20-24 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union. Member States are the ones who are signatories to the European Treaty and by virtue of the treaty have become part of the European Union. To be deemed a citizen of the Union, it is mandatory that the person is a citizen of the member state. Being a citizen of the European Union gives many powers to the citizen, including the right to move freely in the Union and also to freely reside anywhere in the Union. Apart from the right to freely move and reside in any part of the Union, the rights also include the right to vote and enjoy diplomatic protections. The EU citizens share value and beliefs as part of the European Union community. In the present time, there has been a lot of debate regarding the social benefits of European Union citizens in moving from one member state to another
The European Court of Justice has increased its ambit and has started taking up cases related to society and not only economical. The European Court of Justice reaches a conclusion based on the principle of collegiality, that is, the ECJ reaches a conclusion based on consensus. In deciding cases, the European Court of Justice follows the principle of reaching conclusion by consent thereby eliminating the concept of dissenting opinion. The European Court of Justice mandates the free movement within the union as a fundamental right. Rui Zambrano case was the first one its kind that stated that paved the way for European Union citizenship. The right of free movement within the European Union is considered to be a prerequisite to ensure that citizens of the European Union have a right to move freely within the Union. The CJEU takes into account the autonomous power of the European Union legal system. Article 344 of the TFEU states that the European Union has an autonomous power and it owes its origin to an autonomous power, which is independent in nature and character. As has been held in the case of Ruiz Zambrabo that article 20 stops or prevents any national member that has the effect of depriving citizens of any member state from enjoying the rights and obligations under the European Union. All rights given by the member states by a national state shall have the right to confer cross border rights and no national measure shall be taken to interfere with those rights. The rights conferred by European Union are both cultural and social and these rights owe their correspondence to member states.
Rights Conferred by the Member States
The right to move freely within the European Union and also to settle anywhere in the Union is granted as a constitutional right by the European Union. Currently, many members of the European Union are devoid of a right to representation, right to vote or to be democratically represented. As has been mentioned under Article 9 of the Treaty on European Union, the basic principles of citizenship are laid down which state that “every national member of the member States shall by default be a member of the Union. He membership of the Union shall be additional and not an optional or negative right that will negate national citizenship”
Whenever an application for citizenship is made in European Union, it has to also include the element of cross border condition. An internal EU regulation has to consider the element of free movement within the European Union as also to include cross border conditions, that is recognizing the rights of citizens who have crossed the border of their member state to reside in the territory of another state. In cases of cross border citizenship, there are many chances of discrimination. In the case of Ruiz Zambrano read with Rottmann, it was decided by the European Court of Justice that the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union had gone ahead to give the nationals of the Member States the status of a national but had not recognized the element of free movement. The European Court of Justice acknowledged that within the country of a member state, the nationals will be given the status of a national, with full recognition of rights but did not talk about free movement within the states. The European Court of Justice stated that the process was done so as to eliminate the concept of discrimination.
The Dano Case is one of the most landmark judgments related to intra-citizenship, migration and equal treatment. This case was concerned with free movement of persons and about the extension of citizenship from the Union and whether it included citizenship of the European Union or not. This case concerns itself with economically inactive nationals from states that are situated outside the territory of the member state. The case is primarily based on Art 267 of the TFEU concerning the nationals of Germany. Article 9 of the TEU read in the light of the Rudy Grzelczyk held that the citizenship of a member of the European Union will be attributed to them by default and it shall be the nationality of the national of a member state. The laws shall be uniformly applied to them and they shall be treated equally irrespective of their ethnicity or culture.
The Zambrano case focused on the concept of reverse discrimination that may arise when intra-citizenship is granted by the dictates of the European Union. Reverse discrimination occurs when a member state the European Union treats its members less favorably in relation to the treatment it accords to a member of another state. Reverse discrimination takes place when the right of the citizen to move freely within the Union is impeded and restricted and they cannot move freely within the Union. To overcome discrimination, is it essential to understand citizenship in the light of cross border citizenship and how cross border citizenship is triggered. There are a few landmark cases on cross border citizenship which has been found to deliver the judgment in the light of securing citizenship rights. The ambit of these judgments is wide. Though intra movement of citizens within the Union is guaranteed as a fundamental right, in the cases of Carlos Garcia Avello v Belgian State and the Rottman case, it is evident that for benefitting from the rights as enshrined under Article 20(2) (c) and Article 20(2)(d) of the Treaties of the European Union, it is not necessary to make use of the element of free movement. Other than free movement, right to seek diplomatic relation and getting protection overseas are guaranteed by the TFEU. Going by the words of the statutes, it is evidently clear that free movement is not always a prerequisite in ensuring fundamental rights. The Zambrano case laid down the limitations on the European in setting the rules as to how far the Union can go in safeguarding the rights of their citizens. The case was concerned with the decision on the inherent right of a citizen to move freely within the territories of the European Union. The Dano case ruling was concerned with Dano, who was a Romanian national and who had moved to Germany with her son, who was born there. Dano had very limited knowledge of the German language and she had no wish to learn the language or seek employment. The national was economically inactive because she had not expressed any wish to be employed. The question in the case was whether the member State of the European Union has any right to cancel the citizenship of an economically inactive citizen and whether the member state has the right to refuse social benefit to any national seeking citizenship. The case was regarding discrimination and whether the member states have the right to preclude citizenship and treat nationals differently. Whether the EU rules spread to the member states to ensure equal and fair treatment? The Dano judgment by the European Court of Justice narrowed down the scope of free movement and the interpretation of European Union provisions related to free movement was given a very strict and narrow interpretation by the European Union. The principle of non-discrimination is enshrined and mandated by the TEFU and ahs been specified in the directive that says that no member shall be discriminated and that everyone shall be treated equally and without any discrimination. Article 18 and Article 24 of the TFEU makes sure that the principle of equality is maintained and ensured. Based on the principles of the Directive 2004/38/EC, it is ensured that as long as the members are residing in accordance with the directive, they shall be treated equally without any bias. In cases of economically inactive members, it is essential to ensure that the members do not become a burden on the welfare state and whether they should utilize the welfare and security of the host state to help the economically inactive members. The view taken by the Court has been very narrow and the interpretation has been very limited to the definition and requirement of free movement. There have been instances in the past wherein the states have accorded assistance in terms of free movement of nationals. The Directive recognizes a certain amount of solidarity amongst the nation states and the welfare should extend to all the citizens. The case is related to social security.
The criticism that can be extended towards these cases to understand the implication of the European Court of Justice, it is very essential to point that the judgment did not take into consideration facts related to the fundamental rights of citizens as has been guaranteed and also the rights of the citizens that have been mandated by the European Union. This has been done to ensure that the member states are free from nay pressure exerted by the nationals. Whenever an influx takes place, that is, members come from the Member states to the Union State to exert pressure. The fear while making the rule that citizens who come from other member states should be treated equally is an utopian dream because the Court do not take into consideration that there is an element of discrimination that exists whenever a member from one state enters into another state and while granting them protection under the European Union law, they will face discrimination.
The above mentioned case in question attacks the interpretation of the judgment of the European Union on the ground that the judgment came in at the time when the Union was suffering from various societal pressures. There has always been a conflict between the Union and the State and the judgment merely tries to give an interpretive view to the limitations of the applicability of the judgment. The judgment though being narrow ahs a very societal and economic effect which is very beneficial in understanding the relation between the Union and the members and granting social benefits to the intra European Union immigrants. The Court aimed at preserving the welfare rights of the citizens. The status of the non active members of the EU have suffered various blows but the Dano case serves a relief in understanding that the welfare of the citizens are paramount and it is the duty of the Court to guide the member states to take necessary actions for the preservation of the rights of the citizens.
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