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Daniel Carter and Moritz Jesse presented paper at ECPR Conference in Prague

Moritz Jesse, associate professor for EU Law at the Europa Institute, and Daniel Carter, PhD candidate at the Europa Institute presented the paper, entitled ‘Back to the Market Roots for ‘Legal Residence’ of Citizens of the Union – Is the Court of Justice Really Scaling Back Rights?’ at the 2016 European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) General Conference, which took place in October 2016 in Prague.

The paper was part on a panel on the ‘The Future of EU Citizenship’ and argued that for a long time after the creation of EU Citizenship the Court of Justice of the EU [CJEU] has taken an active role in increasing the rights of Citizens. This one-way interpretation of Citizenship of the Union seems to have come to an end, or, at least, the CJEU seems to have hit the breaks in its interpretation of EU Citizenship. In a series of cases, the CJEU has curtailed rights of non-economically active EU Citizens. Accordingly, EU citizens who reside in another Member State and who are not (fully) economically active and who do not have sufficient means will find it harder to obtain permanent residence status, access social welfare benefits, or to be considered legal residents at all.

The paper answered three questions which are important to bear in mind when trying to predict the future of EU Citizenship: (1) Is this development really a new trend? Is the Court reacting to political sensitivities and willing to permanently curtail EU Citizens’ rights? (2) How does the reaction of the Court relate to other areas of law where the Court seems to have increased the reach of EU Citizenship, e.g. in the Zambrano case and the rights of family members, or regarding the application of Fundamental Rights? (3) Is this development restricting EU Citizenship rights or merely re-establishing the rather old dichotomy between the market-citizen and the economically non-active citizen on the EU level? The former is (clearly) still privileged in legal status and claims to equality in EU legislation. The answer to this last question particularly decides whether the nature of the recent interpretations of EU Citizenship by the CJEU is curtailing rights or re-inventing a rather old and well-known divide.

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