All Citizens are Equal but Some Citizens are More Equal than Others (?) - On The Current Trajectory of Western European Citizenship Regimes and What Human Rights Have Got to Do with It

Detta är en Uppsats för yrkesexamina på avancerad nivå från Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Sammanfattning: Citizenship regimes in Western Europe are changing. On the one hand, over the past 30 years, citizenship has been liberalized. On the other, in particular over the past ten years, access to citizenship through naturalization has become restricted in most Western European states. This development has been intertwined with public discourses on ‘integration’ of those Europeans who once migrated to the continent. The same integration concerns have also had an impact on what in this thesis is viewed as forming part of the content of citizenship. Simultaneously with the restricted rules of naturalization, regulations restricting the right to family reunion for Europeans with a migration background have been adopted. In this thesis, the current trajectory of citizenship regimes in Western Europe as briefly described is discussed, through a comparative analysis of the regulation of citizenship in three states; Denmark, Germany and Sweden. Citizenship is in this thesis analysed as composed of three dimensions. Citizenship has a formal dimension, by being the status of ‘full membership’ in the nation-state. It has a substantive dimension, since citizens as ‘full members’ should have ‘a right to equal rights’. But citizenship is also a set of ideals, more or less explicit public and institutionalized ideas about who is the ideal member of a community. Rules of naturalization regulate the access to the status of citizenship, and family reunification is something that all citizens, as full members of a state, should enjoy equally. This thesis comparatively investigates regulations of naturalization and family reunification, which thus pertain to the formal and substantive dimensions of citizenship, in Denmark, Germany and Sweden, with a view to then analyse the regulations in light of the third dimension of citizenship; what ideals are evoked by the regulations? Citizenship as discussed in this thesis has furthermore international dimensions. To what extent are the regulations of naturalization and family reunification compatible with the international human rights norms of the right to a nationality and the right to family life? It is noted in the thesis that, in international law, citizenship resides in the tension between the state prerogative to exclude and human rights obligations to include, and it is argued that the results of this tension in the European human rights system are reflected in the current trajectory of Western European citizenship regimes.

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