Author: Gerrit Spriet
Supported by Studiecentrum Albert Maertens
Though most of us are not aware of it, Europeans today possess not one, but two layers of citizenship. After all, since the 1992 Maastricht treaty, Europeans are citizens not only of a Member State but also of the European Union. But what does that mean? Is this European citizenship a copy of national citizenship or is there more to it than meets the eye? This article seeks to shed more light on how the European Court of Justice has dealt with European citizenship. To do so, we will follow the course of Court doctrine over the past couple of decades. It will become apparent that about a decade ago the Court unleashed nothing short of a revolution in relation to European citizenship. A revolution in what it means to be a citizen of the European Union.
This contribution is based on relevant EU (case) law and a general reading of articles found in the references list on page 7. Since that revolution there is much more to European citizenship that meets the eye. It has become the kind of thing that might just save the day in a moment of crisis And we have the Luxembourg Court to thank for it.