Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 8, 2017

The European Court of Justice and Citizenship of the European Union: New Developments Towards a Truly Fundamental Status

Michaela Hailbronner and Sara Iglesias Sánchez
From the journal ICL Journal


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 take the construction of citizenship towards a federal status. The “genuine enjoyment of the substance of citizenship rights” has emerged as a new legal category that is capable of providing a uniform and general protection and entails the affirmation of a core of rights of a 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 as to what will be the relationship between citizenship and EU fundamental rights. We conclude by exploring the potential of the judgments analyzed in terms of placing Union citizenship at the center of the emergence of a constitutional patriotism in Europe.

Published Online: 2017-2-8
Published in Print: 2011-12-1

© 2017 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston