Nearly thirty-five years ago, the French scholar and publicist Raymond Aron poured ice-cold water on a brand new idea at its moment of birth. ‘There are no such animals as “European citizens” ’, wrote Aron. ‘There are only French, German, or Italian citizens’ [Aron 1974, pp. 652-653]. If he were still with us today, Raymond Aron would be forced to concede that a new political animal has since been born.
The European citizen speaks in a very faint voice and in many different languages, but her talk of European citizenship can nevertheless be heard in various quarters. Its presence is felt in university teaching and research initiatives; within school curricula like the Council of Europe’s Speak Out on European Citizenship programme; and in the manifestos of some political parties and in parliamentary debates.
European citizenship functions as a ‘trigger norm’ in various fields of law covering such matters as consumer protection, asylum and immigration [Wernicke 2005]; and, of course, the principle of European citizenship has an important place in the Treaty of Amsterdam (signed in October 1997); in the reiteration of ‘citizenship of the Union’ in the Nice Treaty (signed in February 2001); and (most comprehensively) in the draft Constitution that encountered ratification difficulties during the first half of 2005, and in the recently approved Treaty of Lisbon.
Whatever long-term effects the latter Treaty have on the project of European integration, it is safe to say that Raymond Aron was mistaken : there is today talk and some institutional backing and action in support of ‘European citizenship’. Its novelty in the history of European integration is indisputable.
There have been few Big Ideals invented by the engineers of integration, but this one - alongside such slogans as ‘The Community of Europe’ and the vision of a ‘Single Market’ - arguably now ranks as the most persuasive and politically rich, despite the fact, emphasized in this monograph, that the project of ‘European citizenship’ is poorly defined, confronted with serious intellectual and political challenges, and certainly in need of political friends. Speaking of friends : who are the champions of European citizenship? Which people, groups, and organisations have tried to disprove Raymond Aron’s judgement?
Put most simply, the answer is : those who foresaw that the stresses and strains of European integration would foster the need for a new collective sense of purpose that would bind the disparate populations of Europe together into some higher European unity; in other words, those who foresaw that the Monnet model of European integration would burn out – that regulatory effectiveness and economic achievements would not be enough because integration would stimulate public demands for having a say in decision making, as is now happening, sometimes with dramatic effects.
The prescience of the supporters of European citizenship has been rewarded and, before it is too late, and details dissolve in the mists of time, historians need to record the thirty-five- year-long history of how the project of European citizenship happened.
Such a history would need to include the path-breaking recommendations to the 1974 Paris meeting of the European Council, where for the first time there was talk of the importance of increasing mobility as a source of ‘European consciousness and the development of European citizenship’; and the Tindemans Report [Tindemans 1975], where the aim of creating a political community of citizens was first clearly http://www.
johnkeane. net/essays/essay_eurocitizens. htm - Page 2 of 23 John Keane - A European Citizen? articulated. More recently, appeals to ‘European citizenship’ have appeared in a wide variety of contexts : for instance, in Helmut Kohl’s campaign in favour of ‘Unionsburgerschaft’ in 1990, which is perhaps the first recorded case where the language of European citizenship became part of an active dialogue between citizens and their government; and in a string of judgements issued by the European Court of Justice, where perhaps most progress has been made in defining and extending new citizenship entitlements and duties to the peoples of the European Union.
The whole effort to define ‘the European citizen’ is prominent in Article 9 of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which declared : ‘Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union.
’ That provision specifies that the citizens of the new Union will enjoy freedoms that include the qualified right to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states; the right of European citizens to have access to an ombudsman in any of the official languages and to petition the European Parliament, to vote and stand for municipal elections – and to vote in European elections – while resident in member states of which they are not nationals; and their right, at home and abroad, to consular representation and diplomatic protection by any member state.
The appended Charter of Fundamental Rights in the draft Constitution adds other, more forward-looking entitlements, for instance, the ‘right to good administration’. The same line of citizenbased reasoning is evident in the Treaty of Lisbon, signed in mid-December 2007.
Introduced to equip ‘the Union with the legal framework and tools necessary to meet future challenges and to respond to citizens’ demands’, the Treaty provides for a strengthened European Parliament, placing it on an equal footing with the Council for the bulk of Union legislation, the EU budget and international agreements; extends qualified majority voting; introduces a Charter of Fundamental Rights into European primary law; and provides for the use of a Citizens’ Initiative, for the purpose of calling on the Commission to bring forward new policy proposals.
Note that these citizens’ entitlements are in each and every case political in the richest meanings of the word. This is consistent with the fact that, in the European region, the etymological roots of the word citizenship refer back to the citizen (civis) who dwells and co-operates with others within a city (civitas) [Weber 1978, volume 2, pp. 12121372; more recently, Skinner and Strath, 2003]. Citizenship is an abstract or ‘imagined’ identity - a self-reflexive form of civic allegiance - that replaces or transcends the ‘natural’, more or less taken-for-granted bonds of household or tribe or local community.
Rephrased : from Aristotle to the Treaty of Lisbon via Roman law, the twelfth-century revival of neo-Roman jurisprudence, the Italian city-states, the self-governing towns of Zeeland and Holland, the Polish Sejm, to the slogans of the English and French revolutionaries – in all of these contexts to be a citizen meant being an individual who belongs to a political community of common laws and to share its entitlements and duties equally with others.
When Aristotle defined a citizen as anyone who can ‘hold office’ he invoked a thought that still lives on : to be a citizen is not to be a powerless subject. It rather entails equal opportunities of access to the politically defined rights and duties of the polity. To enjoy the status of a citizen is to de-nature power, to engage freely and equally with others by exercising the power to define how to live together peacefully, to decide who should get what when and how. Citizenship is not just about legal decisions or governmental policy making http://www. johnkeane.
net/essays/essay_eurocitizens. htm - Page 3 of 23 John Keane - A European Citizen? and implementation. According to some old and venerable traditions of European thinking, it is their condition of possibility. If politics lies at the heart of the meaning of the term citizenship, then it is obvious that the project of European citizenship resembles the wonderful fable told by Jose Saramago’s Tale of an Unknown Island : it is a political odyssey, an exercise in making up rules along the way, an encounter with new problems for which there are no names, let alone automatic or easy solutions.
Seen in this way, the presently embattled vision of European citizenship is confronted by a bundle of new challenges, for which there are as yet no resolutions on the horizon. When handled carefully, four new challenges in particular could occupy the core of a new research programme, in which historians and other social scientists could play a vital role. These four challenges could also help to define something like a political vision, even a political programme that could lead – if it were successful – to the re-shaping and re-valuation of ‘Europe’ as we know it today.
What are these pressing challenges? The first has to do with the fact that European citizenship is a derived and not an independent legal status. The Treaty of Amsterdam and the Lisbon Treaty grant ‘citizenship of the European Union’ to any person having the nationality of a Member State, but it excludes the harmonisation of powers to grant nationality. It follows that if third-country nationals (there are currently more than 15 million legally resident in the Union) wish to become European citizens then they first have to acquire the citizenship of a Member State.
The first point, rephrased, is this : because of its political dependence upon Member States, the vision of European citizenship is perforce in the hands of the living-dead past. Each Member State contains not only different and contested historical understandings of actually existing citizenship rights and duties. There is also great variation of the historical ‘depth’ and contemporary ‘feeling’ for citizenship, especially when it is considered as a meaningful normative vision.
It is upon this uneven and jagged foundation - for the first time anywhere in the world - that an overarching vision of European citizenship is to be built. It remains to be seen whether these diverse meanings and feelings for citizenship will generate conflicting policy definitions of ‘citizenship of the Union’; or even perhaps reduce definitions of European citizenship to mere words, which is what they seem to be for the Brown government in Britain. Time will tell, of course.
In the meantime, what is urgently needed is a new history of citizenship in the European region. The task of satisfying that need is neither easy nor straightforward. While we have various studies of the history of citizenship of particular countries or regions [e. g. , Tilly and Hanagan 1999 ; Schama 1989; Podunavac 2001], no serious attempt has yet been made to write a comparative European history of the notion of citizenship in the different languages of the region.
Such a forward-looking history of citizenship – a present-day history of the future - would need to overcome the cliched distinctions between ‘eastern’ and ‘western’ Europe and conventional divisions among its member states (as if there were only ‘French, German or Italian citizens’, to repeat the words of Raymond Aron). It would initially do so by developing a typology of the different languages and institutions of citizenship in various regions of Europe.
The research would crosscut and so challenge conventional geographical units of comparison by http://www.johnkeane. net/essays/essay_eurocitizens. htm - Page 4 of 23 John Keane - A European Citizen? concentrating on regions of Europe (such as the Mediterranean basin) or combinations of regions (south-eastern and northern Europe) that have never before been systematically compared. This new history of citizenship would of course need to note the earlier concerns of Max Weber and others by asking whether, or to what extent, the appearance of citizenship traditions within the European region was unique in world-historical or global terms.
The conventional wisdom is that only in Europe did the constellation of preconditions for (modern) citizenship emerge : territorially bounded, law-governed states; the institutional separation of the sacred and the profane followed by secularization; the emergence of civil societies; and the invention of representative government, power-sharing assemblies, political parties and periodic elections. A reconsideration of citizenship in Europe needs to test this wisdom, in part by pursuing a comparative investigation of analogous or parallel traditions of citizenship in other regions of the world.
Some consideration could be given – two randomly chosen examples can be mentioned briefly - to competing Chinese legal and political traditions of citizenship (shimin shehui [‘city-people’s society’] and gongmin shehui [‘citizen’s society’]), for instance as they have been shaped by the Daoist celebration of natural, virtually anarchistic spontaneity, Legalist defences of centralized political order, and the ‘middle way’ of Confucianism, with its focus upon moral cultivation and legitimate power in constitutional form.
Special emphasis would need to be given to the reworking of these traditions during the early twentieth-century nationalist revolution – the so-called ‘Chinese awakening’ - in favour of the unity and sovereignty of a Chinese territorial state, and the continuing ripple effects of this revolution into the twenty-first century [Fitzgerald, 1996; Madsen 2002; Metzger 1995, volume 2, pp. 273–312].
A global re-examination of citizenship in Europe might give consideration as well to the old politico-legal traditions of the Islamic world, especially (given its geographic proximity and socio-cultural influence upon Europe) the Ottoman Empire. The research would revisit the conventional claim that the world of Islam, until its colonization by European powers, contained no strongly developed endogenous politico-legal traditions of citizenship.
A careful eye would need to be trained upon the mounting counter-evidence, provided by recent scholarship, of well-developed practices of open-ended political communities structured by clusters of religiously sanctioned urban institutions : the umma (the community of believers); an autonomous civic system of shari`a laws; the cultivation of social solidarity and social pluralism through the waqf foundations and Sufi brotherhoods (turuq); and the cultivation of public spheres for the purpose of monitoring and checking the exercise of political power [Arjomand, 1998; Al-Azmeh, 1997; Hodgson, 1974; Hoexter et. al. 2002; Lapidus, 1988].
It is probable that such global comparisons would show that Europe is not exceptional in developing shared traditions of belief in the equality of citizens living within legally defined political communities. But - to take a different tack - among the striking and unique features of the European region is the way in which Europeans at various times and in different places have self-reflexively meant different and http://www. johnkeane. net/essays/essay_eurocitizens. htm - Page 5 of 23 John Keane - A European Citizen?
Conflicting things when they referred to ‘citizens’ and ‘citizenship’. In Europe, that is to say, the languages of citizenship have been - and continue to be - both semantically antagonistic, politically contested and unequally distributed in a geographic sense. So we come to a working hypothesis : that during modern times five different, partly overlapping languages of citizenship have played a key role in shaping the institutions of government and civil society of Europe as we know it today.
Listed as ‘ideal-types’, these citizenship languages first of all include the understanding of citizenship as obedience to authoritarian state structures. According to this first view, articulated for instance in Jean Bodin’s Six livres de la republique (1576; occasioned by the Huguenot rebellions) and Thomas Hobbes’s De Cive (1642; occasioned by the outbreak of civil war in Britain), political stability requires subjects’ obedience to the institutions of the territorially defined state and its sovereign powers backed up by the sword.
Citizenship implies the passive subordination of subjects who consider themselves duty-bound to an absolutist regime, within which law is the expression of the sovereign’s will, and subject only to certain God-given natural laws [Riesenberg 1992; Stolleis 1992; Riedel 1982]. The citizen as subject enjoys no rights of public criticism or disobedience or rebellion; faction and civil strife are to be avoided, since they are causes of disorder, cruelty and injustice.
The (male) citizen is subject unconditionally to the powers and laws of the state, which in turn enables him to enjoy the institutions of private life, especially through the family, private property and certain religious freedoms. Citizenship as a compulsory form of political-legal identity is paramount; plural identities are restricted and tightly monitored. Civil society understood as a complex ensemble of non-governmental identities is absent.
Traces of this statist understanding of citizenship are still today evident in certain linguistic usages, for instance in the German expressions Staatsangehorigkeit (citizenship; nationality) and Staatsburger einer Monarchie (subject of a monarchy); in Article 3 of the Slovenian constitution, which speaks of ‘a state of all its [male and female] citizens’ (drzava vseh drzavljank in drzavljanov); and in the Croatian word for citizen, drzavljanin (from drzava, meaning ‘state’).
In each case, the connotations differ from a second understanding of citizenship : citizenship as membership of a well-governed polity that avoids despotism by defining and protecting the freedoms and virtues of its leading social groups. In this second understanding of citizenship, tensions between citizenship and social identities are evident. Citizenship is seen to be nurtured through polities, but only on the basis of organized power sharing with nongovernmental organizations and ways of life.
Such polities first appeared in the Iberian peninsula during the twelfth century, where in the adjoining kingdoms of Leon and Castile public recognition was given to the customary right of representatives (procuradores) to gather and to present petitions, and to insist that their acceptance by a parliament (Cortes) implied that they had binding legal effect upon all members of the polity. Citizenship – the entitlements and duties of all to live within a political community of laws – was negotiated through parliaments, which were the site of intense bargaining about the overall welfare of the realm.
Parliaments ratified treaties and debated questions of war and peace. They appointed ambassadors and exercised control over the naturalisation of strangers coming in to the kingdom. New or extraordinary taxes could not be levied without their prior approval, and their consent http://www. johnkeane. net/essays/essay_eurocitizens. htm - Page 6 of 23 John Keane - A European Citizen? was required as well for proposed changes in either their rate or their mode of collection.
Some early parliaments even enjoyed the power to investigate allegations of breaches of the law by officials or the monarch, and to call for justice in cases of wrongdoing. In all these customs – the Croatian thinker Iurii Krizhanich’s Politika (1670) and Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois (1748) later spotted - citizenship implied freedom from political despotism through the cultivation ‚from below’ of political representation and social limitations upon power.
A third approach, the republican, defines citizenship as full and equal membership of a free and indivisible republic. The ideal polity is not a monarchy, but a commonwealth of laws, one that is made and continually re-made by citizens and their representatives. Citizenship is the equal enjoyment of rights and duties defined by public consent, not dutiful obedience. Note that citizenship is an all-encompassing identity : the ‘faction’ and division of social life, especially that which stems from property, are to be kept out of and beneath political life.
Citizens certainly enjoy such freedoms as those of habeas corpus, liberty of the press, private property, periodic elections, even the right to resist arbitrary government, if need be through revolutionary force that aims to eliminate ‘incivisme’. But these same citizens do so only insofar as they are loyally bound in unanimity to the higher order of the polity, which knows no division between government and civil society. Examples of this demanding normative ideal of citizenship include George Buchanan’s De Iure Regni apud Scotos (1579); Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Du contrat social (1762); and Aleksandr Radischev, A Voyage from St. Petersburg to Moscow (1790).
Traces of this republican version of citizenship as ‘active citizenship’ are evident, for instance, in Dutch references to burger (citizen) and burgerschap (citizenship), which terms carry no negative connotations of ‘bourgeois’. Note that especially during the eighteenth century, this republican vision of citizenship became cosmopolitan : the freedoms and corresponding duties of citizenship were seen to criss-cross borders. Interesting and important cases include the transformation during the 1790s of the Swedish language of medborgare (citizen) and medborgarskap (citizenship).
From the early sixteenthcentury, they denote the common relationship enjoyed by burghers of the same town; during the eighteenth-century these terms are transformed – and mixed with the term for ‘subject’ (undersate) - to mean persons that by virtue of certain rights and duties belong to a particular state; while during the 1790s, this old language of citizenship is radicalized through proliferating references to werldsborgare (citizen of the world) [Hallberg 2003].
A similar transformation is evident in the final draft of the Girondin constitution of 1791, which stipulated that any foreigner wishing to reside in France and willing to take the civic oath could be granted naturalization by the Legislative Assembly (hence the famous remark of Jean Lambert Tallien :
‘The only foreigners in France are those who are bad citizens’); and this cosmopolitan turn is evident as well in the first outlines of a philosophical vision of citizenship across borders sketched in Johannes Althusius, Politica Methodice Digesta (1603) and later developed in the writings of Immanuel Kant (e.g. , Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltburgerlicher Absicht (1784) in defence of a ‘law of world citizenship’ (ius cosmopoliticum) which binds citizens and states together into a higher republican commonwealth of states. http://www. johnkeane. net/essays/essay_eurocitizens. htm - Page 7 of 23 John Keane - A European Citizen? The fourth - and perhaps most influential - understanding of citizenship is nationcentred. It formed as an abreaction to talk of world citizenship.
It defines citizenship as the cultivation of the sovereign powers of the nation by means of state power legitimated through national symbols. So understood, citizenship reveals the strong influence of the late eighteenth-century doctrine of national self-determination. Each nation is said to be entitled to govern itself through territorially defined institutions of government and law. Citizens enjoy their freedoms and shoulder their burdens as equal members of nation-states.
In practice, struggles for national self-determination created their own symbolic universe, often by assimilating sacred liturgies and organizational models from the Christian tradition, then adapting and transforming them into secular forms. National identity – considered as the most basic identity functioned as a ‘civil religion’ that rendered the politics of citizenship into an educational mission to the state. Citizenship was thus seen to require the cultivation of a political community of believers, an idealized people united in the cult of the ‘patriotic religion’ (Mazzini) that could embrace the whole of Europe.
This understanding of nation-state-centred citizenship has had a marked effect on contemporary languages of citizenship. An example is the ‘nationalization’ and partial replacement of such terms (in the language of Serbian, for instance) as stanovnik (citizen, from the verb stanovati, meaning ‘to inhabit’), stanovnik grada (‘one who lives in a city’), and gradjanin (citizen), with drzavljanin (from drzava, meaning state, hence ‘citizen of a state’).
Sometimes the meaning of citizenship has been so ‘nationalised’ that many contemporary Europeans either use the terms ‘citizenship’ and ‘nationality’ interchangeably, as when they carry or produce their passports, or (as in Hungarian) see citizens (allampolgar) and citizenship (allampolgarsag) as creatures of the territorial state (allam). Finally – and most familiar to Europeans today – is the understanding of citizenship as the cultivation of civil, political and social rights and duties within a territorial state shaped by national customs and governed by democratic procedures.
This democratic understanding of citizenship is the only one that openly recognises and sanctions multiple social identities. It had its immediate roots within battles to extend the franchise and to strengthen municipal self-government. It came relatively late to the European region, being confined mainly to the past one-and-a-half centuries. Its contours appear strongly within contemporary appeals to ‘informed citizens’ and to ‘citizenship’ (cittadinanza; citoyennete; Staatsburgerschaft) understood as the right and duty to vote, to engage in jury service and to respect civil liberties.
The ideal of democratic citizenship was most famously expressed in T. H. Marshall’s classic reflections on citizenship, which analyze, for the case of Britain, the historical evolution of bundles of citizenship entitlements, from legally guaranteed civil rights that ensure freedom from arbitrary government and the enjoyment of civil society (habeas corpus, private property, the right of association); to political rights that enable citizens to exercise, directly and indirectly, control over their state institutions by means of votes, independent political parties and jury
service; and the enjoyment of social rights to family life (the principal domain of women), employment in the labour market, the freedom to join trade unions, and state-guaranteed education and health care for all citizens, regardless of their income or wealth [Marshall 1951]. http://www. johnkeane. net/essays/essay_eurocitizens. htm - Page 8 of 23 John Keane - A European Citizen?
The first intellectual and practical challenge facing the vision of European citizenship might be summarised thus : how to develop a viable and publicly attractive vision of citizenship within a European heritage, that is, within a kaleidoscope of sometimes overlapping, sometimes conflicting traditions of citizenship that have deep roots that give the dead the vote and ensure that they live on in the present at the urban, regional and territorial state levels. Of course, these traditions of citizenship now unfold within the framework of an emergent polity, loosely called ‘Europe’.
This polity was born more than half a century ago in the circumstances of total war, concentration camps, and devastated economies. Underground visions of a ‘united Europe’, the early failures (during the 1940s) to institutionalise these grand visions, and American efforts (e. g. the Marshall Plan) to ‘rescue’ Europe from Soviet domination all combined to encourage the first modest efforts to develop European-wide initiatives in strictly limited policy areas, such as coal, iron and steel production, and agriculture and transportation [Urwin 1994].
These petits pas (Monnet) were to have much bigger effects, eventually leading to the voluntary creation of a new form of multi-layered and multijurisdictional polity that was both rooted within and would stand ‘above’ the structures of its member states. There is currently no political science term for this polity. The main crucible of European citizenship, the European Union, is neither a federation nor a confederation nor an empire nor a territorial macro-state.
It resembles a condominio [Schmitter 2000; Schmitter and Trechsel 2004] marked by the following features : multi-tiered structures of governance whose competence cuts through and across the powers of its member states; a polity defined by legal rules and processes – and compulsory acceptance of the acquis communautaires; a polity that lacks a clearly defined supreme authority or a stable, contiguous territory; a
polity that has no effective monopoly over the legitimate means of coercion and, so far, has no standing army and only a limited defence strategy and an uncertain identity in world affairs (despite the Lisbon Treaty provision for a new High Representative of the Union in foreign affairs and security policy); and – here we come to a second challenge confronting the project of European citizenship – a polity that is heavily, and increasingly, dependent upon the sub-governmental dynamics of an emergent European civil society.
From its inception, the process of European political integration was guided by the presumption that institution building from above could dispense with the bottom-up process of public legitimation of governmental power. This Monnet model, as it has been called, certainly took for granted the existence of vibrant democratic mechanisms operating at the member state level.
But this model supposed not only that an ever-stronger net of European-level institutions could be cast over its member states; as well, the whole process was supposed to be separable from the time-wasting and controversy-producing mechanisms of public accountability that would otherwise slow down and unnecessarily complicate the complex processes of bargaining and agreement formation so necessary if Europe was to shake off the legacy of war and totalitarianism, as well as create a single, integrated European market. The political legitimacy of Europe was to be supplied by shame and wealth.
Painful memories and the strong sense of shame generated by the background experience of total war, cruelty and several types of totalitarian rule would suffice – like a negative http://www. johnkeane. net/essays/essay_eurocitizens. htm - Page 9 of 23 John Keane - A European Citizen? counterfactual – to bind the peoples and governments of Europe together. Similar conglomerating effects upon the peoples and institutions of the region would flow from the positive investment, production, trade and consumption benefits of supranational integration – or so it was supposed.
This Monnet model of European integration was in reality always subject to the pushpull forces of domestic politics within the member states, but since roughly the end of the 1970s it has begun visibly to disintegrate. Perceptions have been growing, both among policy makers and policy takers, that the European project has not won the trust and loyalty of its subjects. There is mounting awareness that the character of the European process of political integration and its modes of legitimation are closely intertwined.
Although it was differently envisaged at the beginning, the project, for many years, had concentrated upon economic integration, understood as a strategy of regionally enlarging political authority in order to (de-)regulate markets. An immediate consequence of this preoccupation with the creation of a single market was the perceived neglect of government. A further, intensive round of political integration thus became an urgent priority. But with further steps toward political integration, important and difficult questions about the democratic accountability of the new political structures came to be tabled.
European integration was confronted by diffuse social grumblings, active political refusals to consent – as in the French and Dutch referendum votes against the draft Constitution during the first half of 2005 and the generalised sense that the institutions of government do not rest upon the articulated will of a European demos or demoi. This process of de-legitimation arguably deepened with the creation of a European Parliament and (in 1979) the holding of the first European elections.
For the first time, the structures and ethos of the European integration process became subject to crossborder democratic mechanisms of free and fair elections, open public debate and parliamentary supervision – all of which enabled the articulation of public grumblings and reticence about Europe.