Maas, Willem. (2005) Citizenship, Free Movement, and EU Enlargement. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 5 No. 34, October 2005. [Working Paper]
[Introduction]. The European Union’s most significant enlargement admitted ten states in 2004: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Freedom of movement among all but Malta and Cyprus had for many years been restricted. Laws and policies similar to the Soviet propiska (residence permits) system—which placed severe limits on the right to move even between different cities within the Soviet Union, let alone between different Republics—restricted mobility under Communism. For individual citizens in the postcommunist states that joined the Union in 2004, freedom of movement symbolized the “return to Europe” of EU accession. By contrast to the restricted movement that citizens of many of these states had experienced under Communism, EU citizenship promised a right to reside and work anywhere within the territory of the Union. The perceived injustice of the delay in granting free movement rights to Spanish and Portuguese citizens helps explain the support of Spanish and Portuguese political leaders for European citizenship. The transition period for free movement of workers upon the accession of Spain and Portugal was seven years, which was reduced to six years as fears of massive immigration from those countries proved unfounded. Once the language of European citizenship was being widely invoked, it became politically more difficult to distinguish free movement of persons from free movement of goods, services, and capital. Experience with the Spanish and Portuguese accessions in 1986—and German reunification—quashed the objection in the discussions leading to Maastricht that extending mobility rights to all categories of member state nationals would lead to chaos. Yet the enlargement negotiations with the central and eastern European states witnessed a renewal of similar objections. There was a significant disjuncture between the existence of EU citizenship and the reality of the accession negotiations, in particular the transition arrangements passed to render enlargement more politically palatable in the existing member states. The negotiations disappointed those who hoped that European integration heralded a gradual move away from a focus on economic integration towards an increasing emphasis on individual rights. Because of largely unfounded fears of mass migration from accession countries to existing member states, full freedom of movement will be introduced only gradually. The addition of new member states with traditions of citizenship that differ from those of the existing member states alters the political dynamics affecting the future development of EU citizenship.
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