The citizenship provisions and the role of the european court of justice: the expansion of citizen rights

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  • Publicado : 16 de enero de 2011
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María Garrido Trillo
‘In the Court’s view, prominently conferring ‘Union citizenship’ on every member State citizen, had to be more than an empty label or hollow promise of future action. It had to be of some consequence, and to the Court thatmeant freedom from second class status in a Member State that was not the European citizen’s own.’ (Halberstam, D. ‘The bride of Messina: constitutionalism and democracy in Europe’ (2005) European Law Review, p. 784).
In the light of this quote, discuss how the Court of Justice of the European Union has used Articles 17 and 18 of the EC Treaty to expand the rights of EU citizens.INTRODUCTION
The European Court of Justice is the court of the European Community. As its Court, it has played a fundamental role, extending and developing right to free movement, one of the four fundamental freedoms of the European citizens.
The aim of this essay is to discuss the importance of the European Court of Justice in the development and consolidation of the European Citizenshipprovisions. Through the following pages we will study the Court’s interpretation of both Articles 17 and 18 of the EC Treaty and we will try to analyze how its different rulings have lead to an expansion of EU citizen right to move and reside within Member States.
First, we will try to situate ourselves in the historic context of the creation of the European Citizenship. Secondly, we willconsider the European Citizenship provisions, particularly Articles 17 and 18 of the EC Treaty. Finally, we will concentrate in how the Court has contributed to expand the rights of EU citizens throughout their different rulings, using Articles 17 and 18 and how it has achieved to broad the personal scope of the EC Treaty in respect to the right of free movement provisions.

Initially, the European Union was a mainly economic community.[1] Thus, the original EEC Treaty contained provisions on the free movement of persons in order to allow economically active migrants, such as workers or the self-employed, to enter freely and reside in a member State different than their own in case their skills or serviceswere in demand. Moreover, those who move throughout the Community with an economic purpose also enjoyed right not to be discriminated on grounds of their nationality.[2]
However, non-economic migrants, as pensioners or students, were not included in these provisions and consequently, their right to enter and reside in other member States were subject to their national migratory statutes.[3] Onlyeconomic operators economically active in a host Member State were granted the right of free movement.[4]
Despite the fact that right to free movement was closely linked to the development of an economic activity, these free movement provisions were considered as the seeds of ‘an incipient form of European citizenship’.[5]
Subsequently, the rights of free movement and residence were extended.In 1990, three directives were adopted, conferring right of residence to pensioners, students and economically inactive persons if they proved to have enough resources to be financially independent.[6] This right was also broadened to the families of the economic migrant. These provisions supposed ‘a weakening of the link’ between right to free movement and economic activities.[7]
Despitethe fact that the concept of a ‘European Citizenship’ appeared earlier, it was not until 1992, with the Maastricht Treaty, that the Citizenship of the European Union was created and it supposed the transaction from ‘rights as simple freedoms to rights as effective resources’.[8] A more significant step was given towards the extension of right to free movement.[9] In this respect, the European...
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