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Commonality, not Diversity: A Legitimate Union Citizenship towards a More Legitimate EU

Adrienne Yong

The legitimacy of the EU cannot be ameliorated by one single concept. However, this paper contends that Union citizenship is a potential concept which can aid this objective, for several reasons. Citizens constitute the EU substantially, hence it is proposed that bringing them together in commonality rather than highlighting diversity is one way to foster greater solidarity, legitimise Union citizenship and by extension, contribute to legitimising the EU itself. This is done through four identified components of citizenship - common identity, democracy, justice and rights. These will be assessed in context of legitimacy and solidarity to emphasise the worthiness of noting common goals given citizenship's positive effects on the broader notion of European legitimacy. This will also uncover the common struggles of each component in attempting to achieve a balance between liberal and deliberative perspectives. Analysis will then surround this debate, especially in regards to democracy, to argue a satisfactory balance between the two does not currently exist because the community still feels disconnected. It will conclude that the solution is to shift focus onto shared sentiments rather than differences because ultimately, legitimacy is perspective-based and its citizens should be the first place to begin to enact this change.

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