10 November 2012

European University Institute 
Political and Social Sciences
13 December 2012


Nationality, Citizenship, and Ethno-Cultural Membership
Preferential Admission Policies of EU Countries

Examining Board

Prof. Rainer Bauböck (Supervisor/ European University Institute)
Prof. Ruth Rubio Marin (European University Institute)
Prof. Joseph Carens (University of Toronto)
Prof. David Owen (University of Southampton)


In this thesis, I analyse justifications for preferential admission to citizenship based upon ethno-cultural grounds.

My point of departure is the puzzling observation that states not only differentiate between citizens and foreigners, but also between different categories of foreigners, as well as between different categories of citizens. In the first part of this work, I explore possible justifications for boundaries of membership. I look into arguments of justice, nationalism, liberalism and democracy in order to identify principles for demarcating boundaries and for assessing various claims of inclusion/exclusion. In the second part, I address more specific questions related to the regulation of admission to citizenship. For this purpose, I examine a set of concrete rules of citizenship presently enforced by 27 EU countries.

My proposal is to overcome the boundary problem by shifting the focus from the constitution of the boundary towards policies of boundary making. I affirm the principle of general openness of membership that is intended to provide normative corrections to the actual structure of boundaries. Against the common view that perceives citizenship as a fruit that is soft on the inside and hard on the outside, I argue that citizenship should be seen as soft on the inside and even softer on the outside. In order to respond to different claims of admission, I suggest breaking up the unitary concept of citizenship and distinguishing between legal, political, and identity memberships. This proposal is not meant to weaken or devaluate citizenship, but to reaffirm its essentially political value.

By rejecting ideas of automatic and inherited citizenship and by insisting upon democratic recognition and commitment to political membership, I aim at recasting admission to citizenship as a transformative process through which individuals not merely receive membership but become members in a political community.

26 August 2012

Saturday, 11 August 2012
By Costica Dumbrava (EUDO CITIZENSHIP expert)

A background analysis for EUDO CITIZENSHIP explaining the dispute about the validity of the Romanian Referendum of 29 July 2012.

On 29 July 2012, Romanians were called to vote in a referendum on whether they agree with the parliament’s decision to impeach president Traian Basecu. The head of state was accused of outstepping his constitutional powers by meddling with the country’s institutions. The suspension of the president is a tipping point in a series of actions taken by the leaders of the governing Social-Liberal coalition (USL) in order to consolidate its power.

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15 February 2012

Paper: Citizenship and Global Justice

Global Justice: Norms and Limits 
University of Bucharest, 10 - 12 May, 2012

Keynote and guest speakers include: Thomas Pogge (Yale), David Miller
(Oxford), Hillel Steiner (Manchester), Véronique Zanetti (Bilefield),
Sebastiano Maffettone (Roma), Paula Casal (Barcelona), Andreas Føllesdal (Oslo), and Lea Ypi (Oxford).

The idea that citizenship is the privileged repository for justice, democracy, and identity constitutes one of the major theoretical views of the modern time. In recent decades, however, various theorists have argued that any or all of the three elements could or should be disentangled from national citizenship. What is recommended is either the downgrading the normative relevance of national citizenship, or its radical restructuring. I argue that the distribution of membership does not follow the same principles as the distribution of resources. I aim at rehabilitating the normative idea of citizenship without conflating it with the idea of justice and without disregarding constraints of justice either.  

8 February 2012

Teaching: External Citizenship and Minorities

July 9-21, 2012 Pan-European University Bratislava
(study visits to Vienna and Budapest)

External Citizenship, Ethno-cultural Minorities and National Building

The Workshop aims at mapping theoretical and practical problems related to the adoption of legal rules of preferential admission to citizenship for non-resident kin minorities.

25 December 2011

Expert Meeting: ACIT Kick-off Conference

ACIT Access to Citizenship and the Impact on Immigrant Integration

12 January 2010
Scotland House Conference Centre, Brussels

The kick-off Conference, organized by Maastricht University and University of Edinburgh, aims to bring together experts to discuss the research strategy of the ACIT project and to foster the exchange of ideas on analysing the importance of access to citizenship for immigrants.

ACIT is financed by the European Fund for the Integration of non-EU immigrants (EIF). Its main goals are to explore the links between acquisition of nationality and the integration processes and to encourage effective measures for facilitating immigrants' access to citizenship in the EU.

Conference Programme

24 July 2010

Working paper: How illiberal are citizenship rules in European Union countries?

EUI RSCAS, 2010/50 EUDO Citizenship Observatory

The paper proposes an assessment of citizenship rules in European Union countries. First, it designs an analytical framework in order to evaluate the rules of political membership from a liberal-democratic perspective. Second, it develops a systematic comparative study of the citizenship rules of 27 member states of the EU. I argue that a liberal-democratic conception of membership requires certain degrees of inclusiveness as well as exclusiveness. Moreover, liberal-democratic membership can be compatible with both major ideological views on membership – ethno-cultural and civic. It is not the ethnic or civic ideological conception of the polity that renders the rules of membership illiberal, but their unjustified scope.

citizenship, political membership, liberalism, ethno-cultural, civic

Contribution: Five comments on citizenship policies in CEE countries

in A. Liebich and R. Bauböck (eds): Is there (still) an East-West divide in the conception of citizenship in Europe? RSCAS Working Paper 2010/19