Open Access

How Illiberal are Citizenship Rules in European Union Countries? (2010)


The paper proposes an assessment of citizenship rules in European Union countries. First, it designs an analytical framework in order to evaluate the rules of political membership from a liberal-democratic perspective. Second, it develops a systematic comparative study of the citizenship rules of the 27 member states of the EU. I argue that a liberal-democratic conception of membership requires certain degrees of inclusiveness as well as exclusiveness. Moreover, liberal-democratic membership can be compatible with both major ideological views on membership –ethno-cultural and civic-territorial. It is not the ethnic or civic ideological conception of the polity that renders the rules of membership illiberal, but their unjustified scope.


EU countries, political membership, civic citizenship, liberalism, ethno-cultural citizenship




European University Institute, Italy: Cadmus (EUI Research Repository)