Although the formal concept of European citizenship appeared for the first time in the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, the idea thereof goes back to the early years of the European construction.
The Treaty founding the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951 instituted a "basis for a broader and deeper community among peoples long divided by bloody conflicts" as stated in its preamble. More importantly, it ruled out discrimination between nationals of the different member states working in the Steel and Coal industries thus taking the first step towards the creation of a real European citizenship. Other significant progresses have been made ever since but always in an underlying manner and it is no earlier than 1992 that the expression "European citizenship" first appeared in a Treaty.
One shall however not be mistaken by the formal creation of this citizenship, and take it for definite and irremediable. As Willem Maas argues, the European citizenship is still dependent on the goodwill of member-states because it is "based on a political bargain among [them]" and therefore the whole process might collapse if disagreements arouse between states.For these reasons, one can wonder how this embryonic citizenship deals with the very structure of the European Union, which remains a patchwork of different states with different cultures, laws and conceptions of citizenship.
[...] The European citizenship is a very specific concept, and as opposed to the national citizenships it is more about making internal movements within the EU easier than really creating a new and complete set of rights that could possibly enter into conflict with national rights. That is to say that the EU citizenship is dependent on national citizenships and therefore is unable to gain support from citizens who do not consider themselves to be European citizens as much as German or French citizens. [...]
[...] In 2002, that is to say ten years after the creation of a citizenship of the European Union, a "Flash Eurobarometer" public opinion survey carried out by the European Commission revealed that only one fifth of Europeans feel that they are well informed about their rights as Union citizens. One third know what Union citizenship means. Of those polled know what is the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union. From those interviewed know that Union citizenship is acquired automatically by having the nationality of a member state and 89% know that Union citizens can work in any member state. [...]
[...] Attempts have been made to go even beyond the basic granting of rights by pushing for the emergence of a European identity So far, it has been shown that the EU citizenship gives citizens rights in the three key fields of citizenship: the political, social and civil fields. However, citizenship is much more than just a set of rights as it has to do with people's identity. Being a citizen involves the feeling of belonging to something, identifying oneself with the one's country of nationality. [...]
[...] The whole idea of a European citizenship is biased by the subjection thereof to the agreement of the member states as well as by its lack of definition By depending on the goodwill of the member states, the European citizenship cannot be considered as a success The European citizenship is dependent on national citizenship. For instance, the question of whether an individual holds the nationality of a member state is set uniquely by reference to the national law of the member state concerned. [...]
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