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European single currency, citizenship and constitutional developments

di - 19 Giugno 2009
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L’Autore si interroga sulla incidenza della creazione di una moneta unica sulla formazione della cittadinanza europea. Premesso che la dimensione transnazionale di tale cittadinanza (che investe il cittadino di uno Stato membro quale residente in un altro) va distinta dalla dimensione sovranazionale (che investe il rapporto fra i cittadini e i pubblici poteri dell’Unione), egli ritiene che l’euro riguardi soprattutto la seconda dimensione, e che esso segni la punta più alta della contraddizione fra il successo del mercato europeo (a fronte della divisione in mercati nazionali) e il fallimento dell’Unione quale forma di convivenza politica organizzata. La ragione consisterebbe essenzialmente nella visione di corto respiro e irresponsabile delle classi politiche nazionali, interessate a mantenere l’immagine di una burocrazia o tecnocrazia europea in modo da continuare a lucrare consenso senza assumere responsabilità.

European single currency, citizenship and constitutional developments[*]
di Cesare Pinelli

Our seminar’s general topic poses diverse kinds of questions. We might first ask ourselves whether euro, being an instrument of economic exchange, is likely to concur to the creation of European citizenship, whose decisive conditions have rather to do with politics. Such question requires an approach grounded on political philosophy.
Irrespective of such approach, we might then inquire into to what extent the euro, having been adopted since ten years as single currency from the majority of the EU Member States, has affected the representations of European citizenship. In such case, the euro is taken as a symbol, and perhaps the most powerful symbol, of the EU, and the question is sociological, concerning the identity of the European citizen.
However, the fact that the euro has been adopted as the EU’s single currency might raise the further question of whether it has succeeded on economic and financial grounds, and, if this is so, of the political and social consequences of this success. Economists should be in the front-rank for answering such question.
Finally, we might deal with the topic moving from the fact that, according to the EEC Treaty, the status of European citizen is automatically acquired from citizens of the EU member States and that it consists of the rights and duties provided in that Treaty. In this perspective, which is clearly legal, the connection between the single currency and European citizenship is far less evident than in the previous cases. But this is not to say that it doesn’t exist. Its existence depends rather on the approach followed by legal scholars while reconstructing the notion of European citizenship. According to a formal approach, no relevance should be given to the establishment of the single currency for the aim of such reconstruction, given the absence in the European treaties of some connection of that sort. The result does change, if we consider the treaty’s provisions concerning European citizenship as the basis of a process aimed at progressively defining the main features of such notion. In that case, the single currency is likely to be included among the components of that process.
Legal discourses on European citizenship are therefore capable of including within their analysis the issue of the single currency to the extent that they leave aside the pretention of exhausting the definition of European citizenship in formal terms, that is, by exclusively relying on the Treaty’s provisions. A preliminary choice is therefore needed at this respect.
It is time to recall that, according to Article 20 of the Treaty of Lisbon (not entered into force yet, and reproducing the still in force art. 17 of the TEC),
“1. Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional and not replace national citizenship.
2. Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights and subjected to the duties provided for in the Treaties. They shall have, inter alia:

a) the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States;
b) the right to vote and to stand as candidates in elections in the European Parliament and in municipal elections in their Member States of residence, under the same conditions as nationals of that State;
c) the right to enjoy, in the territory of a third country in which the Member State of which they are nationals is not represented, the protection of the diplomatic and consular authorities of any Member State on the same conditions of the nationals of that State;
d) the right to petition the European Parliament, to apply to the European Ombudsman, and to address the institutions and advisory bodies of the Union in any of the Treaty languages and to obtain a reply in the same language.

* Report at the Seminar organized by Fondaca-Scuola Superiore S.Anna di Pisa, “The Single Currency and European Citizenship. An Assessment“, Pisa, June 3rd 2009.

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