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«SUMMARY European citizenship has both a legal and a political life. Objectives of ENACT research focuses on ‘acts of citizenship’ which in some ...»

Enacting European Citizenship (ENACT)

Ongoing project


European citizenship has both a legal and a political life.

Objectives of

ENACT research focuses on ‘acts of citizenship’ which in some

the research

cases shape the legal status (as with the European Court of

Justice), and in others challenge politically its scope and content

(such as those by young people in Turkey).

This briefing focuses on insights from six areas of ENACT work:

 'acts' and 'enacting' as a way of looking at European citizenship  enacting European citizenship in Turkey  deprivation of citizenship in the EU  mobility, sex workers and European citizenship  Roma and Sinti challenges to European citizenship  law and politics in enactment of European citizenship ENACT work packages deploy a broad combination of Scientific approach / methodologies: social constructivist, interpretive, social-legal, methodology qualitative, and empirical.

ENACT research shows how varied acts of citizenship – by both New knowledge and/or central institutions and marginal groups and individuals – European added value challenge the reach and content of existing policy understandings and assumptions.

On Turkey, ENACT research shows that acts of European citizenship need not be performed by formal citizens of Europe.

On deprivation, ENACT research shows that the European Court of Justice continues to stress the fundamental character of European citizenship, presenting itself as a possible site of resistance against Member State nationality legislation that has changed the rules in this domain.

ENACT research also describes forms of mobility that challenge existing conceptions of European citizenship, such as the mobility of organised sex workers and the Roma. In different ways, these cases pose particular dilemmas for policymakers dealing with the content and scope of European citizenship.

A key overall message for policy-makers of

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(particularly from new member states), for example. Studying Roma within the EU enables us to explore how the borders of EU citizenship are policed. Studying the exclusion of EU citizen Roma within EU acts is a reminder of the fault lines in studying EU citizenship (and making policy) on the basis of legal categories; of the complex entanglements between the legal and the political spheres, and of the blurred nature of the boundary between EU and non-EU space vis-à-vis the declared EU principles of democracy, mobility and human rights.

Other ENACT research on mobility raises further key issues.

Much emphasis is placed by EU institutions on the importance of European citizens’ participation and engagement, as well as on the importance of strengthening communication between citizens and EU institutions. But why are certain acts of mobilization not included in the repertoire of European citizenship? ENACT research focuses on the mobilizations of 17th October 2005, when a Declaration on the Rights of Sex Workers was presented in the European Parliament. The conference, the consultation process that preceded it and the presentation of the Declaration are paradigmatic forms of ‘active’ citizenship. Despite this, the organization of rights claims by sex workers around Europe received relatively little attention from EU institutions and their representatives.


–  –  –

When the Roma are talked about in Europe and elsewhere, it is in terms of either minority rights and integration, on the one hand, or migration, on the other. These categories appear as separate, even if policies in one area have implications for the other. Thus, better integration is deemed to lead to less migration. Movement across borders has often been the trigger for devising different policies targeting the Roma rather than a medium for transforming the position of the Roma in European societies. Minority rights policies have a paradoxical effect on the situation of the Roma. They are connected to antidiscrimination measures aimed at providing Roma with material and legal resources that would allow them to become ‘normal’ and integrate in society on an equal basis. At the same time, these policies lead to and sustain the ethnicisation of the Roma as a quasi-national community. This reproduces their identification as different from ‘normal’ citizens. Since the successive EU enlargements to the East, however, another element has entered the debates about Roma integration.

Freedom of movement is at the heart of European citizenship and thus transforms the limited debates about border crossings, as freedom of movement entails rights to being part of a society and not just physical movement.

The relative disinterest in the Declaration on the Rights of Sex Workers and of the sex workers’ mobilization reflects the limitations of who is conceived of as a legitimate actor in the EU, and what counts as a legitimate political action. These limitations reflect the reduction of European citizenship to a legal status only. The sex workers' mobilizations do not fit the institutionalized legislative and regulative framework of European citizenship, but rather entail the constitution of a new self-organized collective subject. This research may assist policy-makers in showing the limits of the EU’s understanding of citizenship and free movement, but also to show the potential of these understandings being creatively questioned.


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