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The traditional, classical vocabulary of citizenship is the vocabulary of the State, the Nation, Peoplehood and associated concepts. It is hard to think of the term unassociated to those concepts. But this means that its very introduction into the discourse of European integration is problematic for it conflicts with one of its articles of faith as had been encapsulated for decades in the preamble to the Treaty of Rome: That European Integration is about "... An Ever Closer Union among the Peoples of Europe.
The introduction of Citizenship understood in its classical vocabulary could mean, then, a change in the very telos of European Integration from peoples of Europe to a people of Europe, even if in a federalist context. With the change of the Telos, would commence a process which would eventually result in a change of European identity and the identity of citizens in Europe, who would become, not only formally, but in their consciousness European citizens.
European citizenship, on this view (still quite prevalent) is to people, what EMU is to currencies. To some -- both Europhiles and Euroskeptics -- this is exactly what European Citizenship is about. It should not surprise us that both Europhiles and Euroskeptics can hold a similar view of what European Citizenship is about. We have long understood that often the debate between these two extremes is not a debate of opposites but of equals -- equals in their inability to understand political and social organization in non Statal, national terms. In their political imagination, those closest in their views to the likes of, say, the right wing of the British Tories, are the Eurofederalists. It was hugely fitting and exquisitely right that Margaret Thatcher launched her famous attack on Europe at the College of Europe in Bruges. She and her audience shared the very same vocabulary even if using it in opposite directions. (It is not surprising, too, that on this view, those opposed to a European currency are also opposed to European citizenship.)
The introduction of European Citizenship to the discourse of European Integration could, however, mean not that the telos of European integration has changed, but that our understanding of Citizenship has changed, is changing, or ought to change.
It would be changing because of a change in the understanding of the State and the nation, but also, perhaps, because of a change in our self-understanding and our understanding of the self and its identity.
Think of the linguistic trio Identity, Identical, Identify. Surely no self is identical to another. It is trite to recall that identity - in an age where for long Choice has replaced Fate as the foundation for self-understanding is a political and social construct which privileges one (or one set) of characteristics over all other, calls on the self to identify with that, and is then posited as identity.
It is equally trite to recall that the modern self has considerable problems with the move from Identical to Identity to Identify. Would it not be more accurate, in relation to the Self today, to talk of DIFFERENTITY?
Do not, pray, confuse what I am talking about with Multiculturalism. Whether in the USA or Hungary the labeling of people as black, or Whitemale, or Jew et cetera as a basis for group political entitlement is the celebration of a bureaucratically sanctioned polity of "multi-cultural" groups composed of mono-culturally identified individuals - the antithesis of individual differentity.
Likewise, the introduction of a European Citizenship could constitute an attempt to construct and reflect a recognition of fragmented Sovereignty in the sense so impressively and lucidly developed by Neal McCormick and of the porous State in that truly original sense that Christian Joerges developed: The State without a Market, to which we could add a State without a boundary and a its own defense - i.e. a State which constitutionally cannot even pretend to have control over the two of its classical functions: Provision of material and existential security.
Constructing, then a new concept of Citizenship around the Fragmented sovereignty of the State and the Fractured Self of the individuals who comprise those "States" - Citizenship as a hall mark of Differentity - could have been a fitting project for Union architect as we slouch towards the end of the decade (and the Century, and even the Millennium - though even counting that way is about a particular identity. That would be the major challenge to the conceptualization of European Citizenship. This, naturally, has not been part of the Post-Maastricht political debate.
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