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Those who would suggest that the EU is not destined to become the United States of Europe as originally envisioned by the founding fathers of the project, might like to answer one simple question. If that were not the case, then why on earth do we continually have new treaties thrust upon us? No sooner than one treaty has been ratified but they are working on the next one, in fact there is already a “group of wise men” tasked with studying for the next treaty, even before the Lisbon treaty has been ratified Are we really to believe the alternative, that the leaders in the EU are so stupid that they cannot write a simple treaty agreement and stick to it, instead of continually being forced to change it by events? The basic lie we are expected to swallow is that there is no defined end point to all of these treaty changes, each treaty is therefore presented as necessary to enable the EU to work more efficiently in some way or other. But nobody ever bothers to point out the obvious, the only way to make the EU work more efficiently in any area, is by removing the power of an individual member state to oppose legislation in that area. EU citizenship has therefore been thrust upon us by a top down organisation, which is now desperate to legalise its own position. Total EU integration is therefore the end point of all of this continual change; one nation state, one central overarching government that has a controlling influence over all areas of national power, one central high court, dispensing one form of central law. Everything the EU does is aimed at that one central goal to make the EU a real United States of Europe. But what is needed above all to add legal, moral and democratic affect to a centralised EU is a real and meaningful EU based citizenship. To this point the EU has been constructed above the heads of the people even though the founding documents of the project made the claim that the people wanted an ever closer union, the people were never asked if this was indeed what they wanted. In fact just the opposite, at every stage when the people have stood in the way of the construction they have been ignored. EU citizenship has therefore been thrust upon us by a top down organisation, which is now desperate to legalise its own position. Something it can only do if it can show its authority derives directly from the people and is not filtered through individual member states. Unfortunately the states also realise that there authority is derived directly from the people, so there is a challenge between the member states on one hand and the central EU on the other, for the hearts and minds of the people. This is one of the main reason we continually have new treaties, as the construction of the EU can only move as fast as the member states will allow at any given time.
Citizenship of a trading organisation is not needed for it to fulfil its mandate of allowing its members to trade amongst themselves. It does not matter in the slightest if the people who live in Ireland have a constitution based on the Catholic religion and we in Britain do not, it does not matter that the people of France might have different basic rights than the people who live in Germany. Those are entirely decisions to be made by the people who live in those nation states. In international trade we do not make the point of refusing to trade with another country because its people have different constitutional rights than we do. We do not say to the Arab states we will not buy your oil because you do hold the same democratic principals as the west. Mind you the EU is begging to make such demands on its trading partners, but that is evidence of its central philosophy than anything else. So the only reason for formalising EU citizenship has to do with creating a central EU state than it does for assisting trade. In fact the idea that the construction of EU has anything to with trade is a conceited falsehood. The treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community first task was the harmonization of a significant but restricted scope of economic activities. But its real mission was fixed in the treaty’s Preamble this was to craft “the basis for a broader and deeper community among peoples long divided by bloody conflicts”. Thus the embryo citizenship was included from the first, because the treaty prohibited discrimination between nationals of the member states employed in the coal and steel industries. The Treaty of Rome six years later extended these requirements to include employment in all occupations, together with the self-employed, thus making freedom to work without discrimination on nationality grounds available for all member states’ citizens. Thus by initiating and embryo community citizenship, the project was encouraging free movement of people, beginning to create the Projects demos by fashioning a foundation for the creation of a distinctive European identity separate from that of its member states, and creating a base for further political integration. One of the problems for the EU in its push for direct power over the people, is that EU rules introduced under the banner of removing trading restrictions those prohibiting discrimination between nationals. Only applied to those few people who actually went to work in another member state, the rules did not reach down to the mass of people who did not, hence something was needed to further the interests of the EU. EU Citizenship was first formally introduced in 1992 in the Maastricht Treaty but because of further developments in the extent of EU citizenship the states feared EU citizenship would undermine their basic sovereignty, so the clause was changed in the Treaty of Amsterdam (Maastricht ) Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every citizen holding the nationality of the Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. (Amsterdam amendment) Citizenship of the Union shall complement and not replace national citizenship.
Freedom of movement was no longer confined to economic activities but became a general right to be enjoyed by all. They may take employment or run a business, and vote or even stand as a candidate in municipal and European parliamentary elections. It is clear that EU citizenship was introduced in an attempt to replace national citizenship and undermine the concept of national sovereignty. However the constitutional amendments which were introduced with the Maastricht treaty reaffirmed the strict linkage between national and EU citizenship, i.e. the only way one could become a citizen of the EU was by first becoming a citizen of one of its member states, thus the member states controlled the gateway to EU citizenship. And the states also controlled the basic rights and the control of those basic rights. For further integration to be possible it was necessary for the EU to put some transnational bones on its own concept of citizenship. More on this point later. The amendment to the citizenship clause in the Amsterdam treaty was a belated attempt by member states to try to negate the erosion of states sovereignty, by the further development of the EUs own citizenship. Which was created by the introduction of an EU based code of Fundamental Rights, and by making Fundamental Rights justifiable in the ECJ. Although the ECJ by its rulings, had been instrumental in injecting the concept that the EU should oversee basic rights, these were an advance of the EU powers beyond that agreed in the treaties. In contemporary doctrine of both international and constitutional law, the concept of citizenship is part of any states structure, so it could be understood that the establishment of the citizenship of the EU can be interpreted as a step towards the creation of more integrated EU supranational organization. However, the EU citizenship shall complement and not replace national citizenship added in the Amsterdam Treaty, goes some way towards temporarily weakening the fundamentally pro-federalist interpretation of the EU citizenship. Obviously if we are citizens of the EU and the EU is the provider and protector of our basic rights this does rather place our own nation state in the shade, and reduces our commitment to our nation state, at the same time increasing our commitment to the EU, as the basic concept of nationhood is increasingly realised at the EU level. All member states constitutions contain a reference to “people” or “nation” in which the states sovereignty is vested. The EU attempts to supersede this implicitly by the establishment of the citizenship of the EU. Given that citizenship of the EU is interpreted as recognition of the European population as which holds its popular sovereignty in the EU, it is a direct challenge to the member states sovereignty. This of course fits well with the major political parties in Britain moving now to enhance and define the concept of Britishness and the ideas being proposed by both NuLabour and the Conservatives for a new British Constitution and a new Bill of Rights. This makes sense from the point of view of a nation state that finds its basic authority to exists is placed under threat from the federalising tendencies within the EU. It is clear that EU citizenship was introduced in an attempt to replace national citizenship and undermine the concept of national sovereignty. It is equally clear that
there is a conflict between the central EU and its member states, as the states seem to be fighting a regard action in an attempt to stem the flow of power to the EU. One thing which is apparent is that the EU by gifting a series of fundamental rights to its citizens, that also include what can best be termed as social rights,- ie, Rights that have a costs association health care housing etc. and by including freedom of movement to all of its citizens. Is creating an internal engine for more integration that the states themselves will be compelled to acknowledge and find difficult to impede. On one hand the EU can claim - as it already is - that it should be setting the rules for the provision of its own social rights, because these are better in some states than others, hence not fair to some of its citizens. On the other hand the EU is not actually providing any rights; those will be provided and paid for by its members. Hence the individual member state will find itself increasingly having to supply social rights to EU citizens who are not also state citizens. This is already having an affect in Britain as our own NHS is increasingly subjected to claims for service from non British subjects and also finds itself under a direct threat from the EU`s plan for an open health market. An open health market is simply not conducive to a nationally based health service which is open to all at the point of use, or one that has to pay for its services to be carried out in another country. It is supposed to be a National Health Service, not a provider of cash to other institutions that do not support the concept. Under rules set by an external overarching government, which is not responsible for either raising the money or providing the service, and can make its rules to further its own interest, at the expense of its member states interest, in the comfortable knowledge that it cannot be held accountable by its Citizens. The EU is already vying with its member states over the concept of citizenship something which is vital for the EU to progress towards its eventual goal. In order to maintain its advantage in the citizenship a policy of prohibiting dual citizenship between member states would be seen as unreasonable and opposed to the spirit of European integration. stakes, the EU has to enhance its claim to be our nation state and that it in fact does speak for its citizens. Rather than allowing the member states to maintain their position as guardian of EU citizenship the EU must eventually become the body which decides who would become an EU citizen. Thus the central EU leadership begin the next steps in demolishing the nationality of the member states, because the EU feels that as the EU does not have legal authority to grant the status of citizen; which at the moment can only be acquired through nationality of a member state. It must therefore challenge the exclusive competence of the member states to determine who is a national, and therefore an EU citizen. It must open up a second avenue for acquiring Union citizenship and bypassing the gate keepers to union citizenship.
I mentioned in part 2 that the amendment to the citizenship clause added in the Amsterdam Treaty, goes some way towards temporarily weakening the fundamentally pro-federalist interpretation of the EU citizenship. Temporally because the The EU now begins to introduce a basic challenge to the states guarding of the gateway to EU citizenship. The EU bases its argument for this challenge on a claimed right for the Union to decide who is subjected to the EC law. The EU does not have legal authority to grant the status of citizen; this can only be acquired through nationality of one of the Member States. The exclusive competence of the Member States to determine who is a national, and therefore an EU citizen, deprives the Community of the right to decide who is subjected to the EC law. Issuing legal provisions for ‘unknown subjects is rightly considered to be anomalous. Not actually really any more irregular than issuing legal provisions for a citizen who cannot hold the EU to account, or forcing dual citizenship on us all. But the EU naturally only looks at things from the perspective of EU integration and considerers that a policy of prohibiting dual citizenship between member states would be seen as unreasonable and opposed to the spirit of European integration. The purely decorative and symbolic institution of EU citizenship is designed to eventually replace the citizenship of the member states then national citizenship would become a left over and subsidiary form of membership of a similar kind as the provincial citizenships that exist in other federal states. Fundamental rights as well as the rules of acquisition, transmission and loss of citizenship would be the same throughout the Union. Each of the member states has developed different rules for conferring citizenship to third country residents, in some they must have been a resident for 8 years in others 5 years and so on. The EU argues that this is wrong, how can there be so many different ways to acquire citizenship of the EU, however by arguing in this way the EU clearly implied it intention to influence the conferral of national citizenship, even though this was in contempt with provisions of the agreed by members states in the Treaties. Of course this directive does interfere with the Member States autonomy in establishing nationality legislations. We can see that what the member states agree in a treaty has no influence on the action of the EU which is always prepared to go beyond the treaties in order to advance the process of integration. Notwithstanding the provisions agreed on in Maastricht, and amended in Amsterdam the EU aspires to influence the setting of conditions determining access to national citizenship. But as it has no authority to force the issue the EU instead decided to use soft power to achieve its ends. The EU says of soft law.
The Commission eventually managed despite objections from some member states to get the EU`s aspirations set down in an official document, this of course would lead to it being in a position to further develop its objectives. Hence the issues of immigration and integration policy dominated the Tampere Summit s as can be seen by the communiqué Tampere Summit Conclusions
The EU continued to develop its attack on the member states sovereignty the commission issued a proposal for a Directive July 2001 but the member states held out and the Commission re-launched the attack in 2004 Green Paper on an EU approach to managing economic migration (COM (2004) 811). And continued until they reached agreement in 2005 leading to a policy plan legal migration (COM (2005) 669) which lists the actions and legislative initiatives that the Commission intends to take, so as to pursue the consistent development of the EU legal migration policy. Of course this directive does interfere with the Member States autonomy in establishing nationality legislations. Something that had been a big sticking point but the states went along with the proposals because by this time other EU polices were creating an impetus that the states found hard to resist. Largely as a result of EU policies such as the internal market, many decisions taken on the national level now have a cross-border impact this in turn has led to increasing power being transferred from the national to the EU level. This is usually referred to as the spillover effect, “the initial movement of powers to the EU level and then the EU legalisation in those areas of power creates a series of situations that can be dealt with only by a further expansion of EU powers. Evidence of one states ability to affect all the others and of the impetus for the states to work together under the umbrella of the EU becomes apparent when considering the Spanish authorities issued an amnesty for illegal immigrants working in Spain in 2005, 700 000 illegal immigrants were granted legal residence status. Although that is only the first step on the road to full citizenship Spain has such a lax attitude over citizenship that an illegal immigrant who was granted residence would only have to wait 2 years before being granted Spanish citizenship and thus EU citizenship and of course then legally able to live and work in any other member state. Anyone who has been reading my EU citizenship posts might like to follow up with reading some other thoughts and information on the legality of EU Citizenship and also how to renounce EU Citizenship. Solemn Treaty Obligations The UN 1503 Procedure Mass Debate in Europe
Renunciation of EU Citizenship The UN 1503 Procedure
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