Jacques Thomassen, Hanna Bäck
European Citizenship after Enlargement

EUI working papers
SPS 2008/02 S.
ISSN: 1725-6755

In this paper we distinguish two rival theories on the relationship between European citizenship in the sense of a legal construct on the one hand and a European collective identity on the other hand. According to the first theory a collective identity is a necessary condition for the development of a legitimate European political community. The second theory claims that there is indeed an empirical relationship between these two concepts, but the causal sequence is not necessarily unidirectional. Once a political community is established it can breed a sense of community. In this paper we test the hypothesis that formal citizenship breeds both a sense of European citizenship and a sense of European community. Our analyses do not offer firm evidence in support of the hypothesis in either case. The time of entry of the Union rather than the length of membership as such explains differences in the sense of European citizenship. A similar conclusion applies to the development of a sense of European community. Trust in the people from the new member states in Central and Eastern Europe among the citizens of the older member states is very low. The 2004 enlargement therefore meant a serious blow to the development of a European community.