One of the unexpected consequences of having set up this website is the frequent enquiries coming in to Federal Union from people looking for help. The internet isn’t just for an organisation to talk to the world, but also for the world to talk back.
We get all the usual e-mails offering Viagra or various anatomical enhancements (dear spammers, I’m coming to terms with my hair-loss, thanks), but we also get asked for help with essays and research projects and personal enquiries.
One common enquiry is about European citizenship, or more specifically how to become an EU citizen.
The sad response I have to send in reply is that it is not as easy as it looks. The EU has pioneered many forms of political organisation and representation, and its citizenship is one of those pioneering forms, but it still remains attached to the national citizenship of the member states. Every citizen of a member state is also a European citizen, and no-one else is.
If you want to become a European citizen, therefore, you must aim to become a citizen of one of the member states, too. For each person who has this ambition, there will be different methods and means of realising it, depending on family history, residence, and work history. The starting point is therefore to investigate the citizenship rules of each individual member state. To my latest enquirer, I hope this helps.
There is a strong argument that the EU should enact a notion of citizenship that is separate from the citizenship offered by the individual member states, so that third country nationals legally and permanently resident in the EU might avail themselves of the rights and protections (and duties) that EU citizens already enjoy. Free movement rights, for example, apply to citizens and not persons. Legal, permanent residents should be accorded the same rights.
There is a list of resources on our website (which you can find here) that discuss these questions in more detail.