The journal Open Citizenship is a resource for and by people concerned with citizenship, migration and political participation in the European Union.
Published twice each year, and distributed by way of libraries, conferences, NGOs and professional networks, Open Citizenship is a hybrid journal that combines scholarly work with commentary and information by and valuable to civil society actors, academics and decision-makers.
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Open Citizenship has covered many topics relating to citizenship in Europe, including sustainability, urban citizenship and the European economic crisis. To find out more, please go to the Open Citizenship website.
After all, isn’t sustainability just a buzzword? Doesn’t it just mean ‘green energy’? Why should anyone care about it?
The new edition of Open Citizenship asks these questions to find out if we as citizens are missing an important concept in our lives. There are many different definitions of ‘sustainability’- but not a single one illustrates the importance of sustainability to citizenship. Indeed, if we as citizens are not able to become involved in the debate, we risk losing the notion of citizenship itself.
Debate on Europe often focuses on EU-level legislation and institutions, overlooking the places where Europe is actually experienced by people: at the local level, particularly in urban spaces. While crises often direct our attention to large-scale policies and institutional architecture, they can obscure the processes of re-invention constantly taking place when citizens interact with each other. In our view, no matter what takes place inside the bubble of Brussels, Europe will always be defined by how people live together and organise their local communities.
In the forthcoming issue of Open Citizenship, titled “The European economic crisis, civil society & resistance”, a major theme among our contributions is the notion of crisis as opportunity. That is, civil society should view the on-going economic crisis in Europe as a window of opportunity. To do what? For our authors, it’s an opportunity to advocate financial regulation with teeth, to strengthen a European identity, to experiment with alternative forms of governance or to formulate a coherent, communicable vision for the European project.
The pieces in this issue also suggest that identity in Europe causes diverse outcomes. For instance, the role of identity in political outcomes is different in the Netherlands, Latvia and Germany. Ultimately, European identity may simply be a fluid hodgepodge of subsumed identities that play out differently depending on where you are and which issue area you’re talking about – be it politics, culture or even sport.
This issue of Open Citizenship takes a closer look at mobility in the European Union. Since the European Economic Community was created to allow free movement of workers, the concept of mobility has changed. Today, the EU allows for free movement of citizens from all Member States within its borders and utilises mobility programmes to enhance EU identity. At the same time, citizens’ increased mobility leads to new challenges concerning voting rights, social rights or international marriage and divorce laws.
In the second issue of Open Citizenship, we take a closer look at exclusion and discrimination in Europe. This includes legal discrimination caused by limiting citizenship concepts at the EU and Member State level, as well as cultural obstacles to integration. In addition, the issue will explore possible solutions, by outlining, for example, cases in which progressive forms of citizenship have partly overcome these practices.
Exclusion and discrimination are relevant to different fields such as political participation, social services, cultural inclusion, education and others. Discrimination can take place when EU citizens cross Member State borders or affect third-country nationals lawfully residing in the EU. Discrimination may also take place at the personal level, in cultural definitions of what is ‘European’. The subject of discrimination is broad and open to diverse interpretations.
The ongoing integration process of the European Union and the increasing cross-border mobility of its peoples challenge the traditional legal definition and political construction of citizenship as national identity. As increasingly more people in the Union choose a transnational lifestyle, and with an increasing rate of residency outside the country of citizenship (at present: 11 million EU citizens), the social contract as represented by national citizenship looses the ability to fully delineate individuals’ roles, rights and responsibilities.
Such residency patterns and the current model of citizenship has a significant impact on individual’s participation in political society. As a result many European expatriates are disenfranchised at the regional (county, state or provincial) and national levels. Moreover, non-European expatriates can find themselves excluded from all political participation. Unfortunately, the Treaty of Lisbon enhanced this discrimination. Consequently, the central theme of the first edition of Open Citizenship is “European citizenship”.
With financial support from the EU Fundamental Rights & Citizenship Programme