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The Protection of Member State Interests in the EU Citizenship Regime: The Janus-Faced Nature of EU Citizenship in a Time of Economic and Financial Crisis

Federico Casolari

The EU citizenship regime has revealed a Janus-faced nature in this time of economic and financial crisis. On the one hand, it has been considered by some Member States (e.g. Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom) as a threat to the protection of the national welfare system. In particular, this attitude has been showed with regard to the free movement of EU citizens' provisions, which have also been subject recently to a rather restrictive interpretation by the European Court of Justice (see the Dano judgement, delivered on 11 November 2014).On the other hand, some other Member States (MSs) have considered the EU citizenship regime as a tool that may help them in facing the budget constraints caused by the crisis. A clear example of this attitude is represented by the Investors' and Citizenship Schemes adopted by Cyprus and Malta, where the EU citizenship is conceived as a commodity that can be sold by MSs.Unlike the former, this latter trend has provoked a vivid criticism and a strong response by the EU institutions (namely, the European Parliament and the European Commission) that considered the selling of EU citizenship unlawful and inconsistent with the fundamental values of the Union.This paper aims at analysing these different interplays between the EU citizenship regime and the MSs' national interest in protecting state budget, particularly in the light of both EU law and international law. A special emphasis will be given in this respect to the role the principle of sincere cooperation plays (or should play) in this domain, this principle being considered the cornerstone of the EU integration process.

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