Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law
Editor-in-Chief: Bezemek, Christoph / Eberhard, Harald / Fuchs, Claudia
What’s in a Name? Equal Treatment, Union Citizens and National Rules on Names and Titles
The construction of names and the use of nobility titles is not regulated by European Union law. Yet the Court of Justice of the EU has had to deal with such issues on various occasions where national rules on names or titles had to be contrasted with the EU law on equal treatment, Union citizenship and free movement and residence. Rules on names fall essentially within the competence of the member states, but the states have to regard EU law when exercising this competence. Our paper undertakes to analyse this issue in light of a recent relevant judgment, the Bogendorff von Wolffersdorff case, having regard also to the Court’s reasoning regarding the national constitutional identity clause [Art 4 (2)TEU]. We argue – inter alia – that the Court of Justice decided in this judgment not to favour the rights of a free-moving EU citizen (even if the judgment admittedly affects only a limited circle of individuals) and put national constitutional identity first, yet the way in which the identity clause was used by the Court is also debatable in our view.