European citizenship: Towards a european identity?

Law and Philosophy 20 (3):239-282 (2001)

Questions of political identity and citizenship, raised by the creation of the `new Europe', pose new questions that political theorists need to consider. Reflection upon the circumstances of the new Europe could help them in their task of delineating conceptual structures and investigating the character of political argument.Does it make sense to use concepts as `citizenship' and `identity' beyond the borders of the nation-state? What does it mean when we speak about `European Citizenship' and `European Identity'? It is argued that the pluralism that has led theorists to offer a conception of citizenship based upon principles of right, rather that the common good, applies even more strongly at the level of the European political order. Developing a contractarian theory of federation, an account of the basis of a European citizenship will be offered in which federalism emerges out of an overlapping consensus of European citizens on the terms of their political association. `European Citizenship' and `European Identity' are discussed in the context of the so-called `European Union', and not in the wider context of Europe `as a whole', or for that matter on an even broader `cosmopolitan' scale. However, the gist of the article is that arguments for concepts of `citizenship' and `identity' that go beyond borders of nation-states and that are applied to the `European Union', could have implications for an even wider application.Finally, and in conclusion, the context will be elaborated in which the normative concept of shared liberal citizenship identity should be realized on a pan-national, European level
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