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‘Shunning’ and ‘seeking’ membership: Rethinking citizenship regimes in the European constitutional space

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 July 2019

School of Law, University of Edinburgh, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL
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This article explores parallels between the ‘shunning’ and ‘seeking’ of membership of the EU in the context of Brexit and stalled enlargement in south-east Europe, via a focus on the partial, fragmentary and contested governance of citizenship. The case studies place Union citizenship into a wider political and socio-economic context, demonstrating its central importance as an enabler of personal freedom. At the same time, they highlight how the denial or removal of Union citizenship can engender individual strategies to recover lost or denied benefits. From the analysis, parallels emerge between Union citizenship and national citizenship; both offer a promise of equality, but a reality of differentiation and inequality. At the same time, by delving deep into the case studies, it proves possible to illuminate the complex and often ‘messy’ constitutional edifice of the European Union, involving sometimes contradictory processes of Europeanisation and de-Europeanisation affecting citizenship regimes at all levels.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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Jo Shaw holds the Salvesen Chair of European Institutions at the University of Edinburgh and a part-time professorship in the New Social Research Programme at Tampere University.


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37 Nicolaïdes, K, ‘Mutual Recognition: Promise and Denial, from Sapiens to Brexit’ (2017) 70 Current Legal Problems 1.Google Scholar

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39 Vasilopoulou and Talving (n 30).

40 Bauböck (n 23); Bellamy, R and Lacey, J, ‘Balancing the Rights and Duties of European and National Citizens: A Demoicratic Approach’ (2018) 25 Journal of European Public Policy 1403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

41 Bellamy and Lacey ibid.

42 A tweet by former special advisor to Prime Minister Theresa May, Nick Timothy published on Twitter, 2 March 2018 (on file with author as screenshot).

43 Ker-Lindsay, J, ‘Turkey’s EU Accession as a Factor in the 2016 Brexit Referendum’ (2018) 19 Turkish Studies 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

44 The idea of EU citizens (or future EU citizens) as welfare or ‘poverty’ migrants is reflected in the CJEU’s judgment in Case C-333/14 Dano ECLI:EU:C:2014:2358, although the reality is that the migration picture into, across and out of the Western Balkans is rather mixed: International Organisation for Migration Report, Labour Migration Patterns, Policies and Migration Propensity in the Western Balkans (2010) available at: <>..>Google Scholar

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48 D Thym, ‘The Evolution of Citizens’ Rights in Light of the European Union’s Constitutional Development’ in Thym (n 19).

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51 For a practical example of the application of the insights of Europeanisation to the case of free movement (in the UK see J Shaw, ‘Between Law and Political Truth? Member State Preferences, EU Free Movement Rules and National Immigration Law’ (2015) 17 Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 247; see also D’Angelo, A and Kofman, E, ‘From Mobile Workers to Fellow Citizens and Back Again? The Future Status of EU Citizens in the UK’ (2018) 17 Social Policy and Society 331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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53 Trenz, HJ, The Saga of Europeanisation on the Narrative Construction of a European Society, ARENA Working Paper 7/2014.Google Scholar

54 Ibid 2.

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57 Burns, C et al., ‘De-Europeanising or Disengaging? EU Environmental Policy and Brexit’ (2019) 28 Environmental Politics 271, 273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

58 See the case of Turkey: S Aydın-Düzgit and Kaliber, A, ‘Encounters with Europe in an Era of Domestic and International Turmoil: Is Turkey a De-Europeanising Candidate Country?’ (2016) 21 South European Society and Politics 1.Google Scholar

59 Thus far there has been relatively little scholarly attention focused on disintegration and de-Europeanisation. See Outhwaite, W, ‘De-Europeanisation after Brexit: Narrowing and Shallowing’ (2019) 9 Global Discourse 15;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Vollaard, H, ‘Explaining European Disintegration’ (2014) 52 Journal of Common Market Studies 1142;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Rosamond, B, ‘Brexit and the Problem of European Disintegration’ (2016) 12 Journal of Contemporary European Research 864.Google Scholar

60 Wiesner et al. (n 20) 1.

61 Ibid 10.

62 Krasniqi, G and Stjepanović, D, ‘Uneven Citizenship: Minorities and Migrants in the Post-Yugoslav Space’ (2015) 14 Ethnopolitics 113.Google Scholar

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65 Stalford, H, Children and the European Union: Rights, Welfare and Accountability (Hart, Oxford, 2012).Google Scholar

66 Bruzelius, C, ‘Freedom of Movement, Social Rights and Residence-Based Conditionality in the European Union’ (2019) 19 Journal of European Social Policy 70;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Tervonen, M and Enache, A, ‘Coping with Everyday Bordering: Roma Migrants and Gatekeepers in Helsinki’ (2017) 40 Ethnic and Racial Studies 1114.Google Scholar

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68 Shaw (n 51).

69 Barnard, C and Butlin, S, ‘Free Movement vs Fair Movement: Brexit and Managed Migration’ (2018) 55 Common Market Law Review 203;Google Scholar Mussche, N et al., ‘How Posting Shapes a Hybrid Single European Labour Market’ (2018) 24 European Journal of Industrial Relations 113.Google Scholar

70 See Shaw, ‘EU Citizenship: Still a Fundamental Status?’ in Bauböck (n 35); Oosterom-Staples, H, ‘The Triangular Relationship between Nationality, EU Citizenship and Migration in EU Law: A Tale of Competing Competences’ (2018) 65 Netherlands International Law Review 431.Google Scholar

71 Case C-369/90 ECLI:EU:C:1992:295.

72 Case C-34/09 ECLI:EU:C:2011:124.

73 Case C-135/08 ECLI:EU:C:2010:104.

74 European Commission, Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union, COM(2019) 12 (23 January 2019); for a brief review, see Džankić, J, ‘What’s in the EC’s Report on Investor Citizenship?GlobalCIT Blog (23 January 2019) available at: <>.Google Scholar

75 Liechtenstein v Guatemala (Nottebohm) [1955] ICJ 1.

76 Thwaites, R, ‘The Life and Times of the Genuine Link’ (2018) 49 Victoria University of Wellington Law Review 645;CrossRefGoogle Scholar Macklin, A, ‘Is It Time to Retire Nottebohm?’ (2017) 111 American Journal of International Law Unbound 492.Google Scholar Looked at purely from the perspective of citizenship competences, the Commission’s position looks rather weak (J Shaw, ‘Citizenship for Sale: Could and Should the EU Intervene?’ in Bauböck, R (ed), Debating Transformations of National Citizenship, IMISCOE Research Series (Springer International, Cham, 2018) but that is before we factor in questions related to its competences on issues such as money laundering and financial crime.Google Scholar

77 Art 4(3) third sentence TEU.

78 For the formalities to allow for signature of the Withdrawal Agreement, see Council Decision 2019/274, ECLI: The text of the Withdrawal Agreement as at 25 November 2018 is published in OJ 2019 C66 I/1. For discussion of the citizens’ rights aspects seek Garner, O, ‘Citizens’ Rights in the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement: Ossifying EU Citizenship as a Juridical Status?GlobalCIT Blog (28 November 2018) available at: <>.Google Scholar

79 Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom (22 November 2018) OJ 2019 C66 I/185.

80 In her Mansion House speech in March 2018, Prime Minister May seemed to suggest there might be a special status in the UK for EU immigration after Brexit but this has yet to be translated into concrete policy. Available at <https://>.

81 Fossum, JE and Graver, HP, Squaring the Circle on Brexit: Could the Norway Model Work? (Bristol University Press, Bristol, 2018).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

82 Details of the Swiss/EU arrangements on the Swiss Confederal Government website are available at: <https://>.

83 A strict separation has been maintained between the Withdrawal Agreement and the future arrangements for immigration between the EU and the UK, reinforced by the deletion of an earlier Article 32 from the draft Withdrawal Agreement, concerning immigration matters, as it belonged only in the future relationship agreement. For discussion see N Nic Shuibhne, ‘Brexit Roundup: Free Movement and the Limits of EU Citizenship’ Scottish Centre on European Relations Blog (18 April 2018) available at: <https://>.

84 See Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, for details of passage through Parliament see <https://>. For further information see for details Commons Library Insight, The Immigration Bill: An End to Free Movement (15 January 2019) available at: <>. However, as of end June 2019, the UK Government had not published the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, needed both to enable Brexit to occur and to make good on promises to protect the rights of EU citizens, summary available at: <https://>.

85 A regularly updated overview is available at: <>.

86 A regularly updated summary of the measures taken by Member States to protect citizens’ rights in the event of a no deal is available at: <>.

87 McKinney, CJ, ‘Sweeping New Immigration Regulations Herald the End of Free MovementFree Movement Blog (13 February 2019) available at: <>.Google Scholar For an analysis of the general situation before the publication of the UK’s recent materials, but after positions papers by both the UK and the European Commission, see Peers, S, ‘Staring into the Abyss: Citizens’ Rights after a No Deal Brexit, EU Law Analysis Blog (6 December 2018) available at: <>.Google Scholar

88 Cf. Burns et al. (n 57) on the ease of dismantling centralised policy areas with few dispersed stakeholders.

89 S Dhingra et al., ‘Brexit and the Impact of Immigration on the UK’ Paper No CEPBREXIT05 (May 2016).

90 For further information see the findings of the research project Brexit Brits Abroad <>.

91 For an analysis, see Lis, J, ‘No, We’re Not Being Bullied by the EU over BrexitProspect Magazine (2 November 2018) available at: <>.Google Scholar

92 Reg (EU) 2018/1240 ECLI: and Reg (EU) 2018/1241, ECLI:

93 Reg (EU) 2019/592, ECLI:

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96 On the options for unilateral protection or ring-fencing, see Smismans, S, ‘Six Brexit Scenarios for Citizens’ RightsThe UK in a Changing Europe Blog (12 October 2018) available at: <>.Google Scholar

97 For the background see Smismans, S, Ring-Fencing Citizens’ Rights in the Brexit Negotiations: Legal Framework and Political Dynamics (28 January 2019) DCU Brexit Institute – Working Paper N.1 – 2019.Google Scholar

98 I Solanke, ‘Who Speaks for the Zambrano Families? Multi-level Abandonment in the UK and EU’ in Dustin et al. (n 63) 151.

99 Details of the UK’s Settled Status and Pre-Settled Status for EU and EEA citizens who have been in the UK for five years (or less in the case of pre-settled status): <https://>. The scheme (and fears that the Home Office will not cope) is discussed in Getting It Right from the Start: Securing the Future for EU Citizens in the UK, a Report for British Future by Jill Rutter and Steve Ballinger (January 2019) available at: <>.

100 See Sumption, M and Kone, Z, Unsettled Status: Which EU Citizens Are at Risk of Failing to Secure Their Rights after Brexit?, Migration Observatory Report, COMPAS, University of Oxford (12 April 2018) available at: <>; see alsoGoogle Scholar Zawacki, S, ‘Fear Mounts as Roma Prepare to Apply for Post-Brexit Settled Status in the UKThe Conversation (22 August 2018) available at: <> and ILPA briefing, EU Settled Status Automated Data Checks (30 January 2019) available at: <>.Google Scholar

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102 C Yeo, ‘The Impact of the UK-EU Agreement on Residence Rights for EU Families’ Eurochildren Research Brief No 1; Yeo, C, ‘The Impact of the UK-EU Agreement on Residence Rights for EU Families’ (2018) Eurochildren Research Brief No 2.Google Scholar

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109 See European Citizens’ Initiative on Permanent European Citizenship registered by the Commission, Press Release IP/18/4566 (18 July 2018) available at: <>.

110 Yong, A, ‘Britons Shouldn’t Get Their Hopes up about Keeping EU Citizenship after Brexit’ The Conversation (21 February 2018) available at: <>;Google Scholar also negative is AP van der Mei, ‘EU Citizenship and Loss of Member State Nationality’ (2018) 3 European Papers 1319. Compare the argument of Garner, O, ‘The Existential Crisis of Citizenship of the European Union: The Argument for an Autonomous Status’ (2018) 20 Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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113 ‘Net Migration from EU to UK Falls 70% since Brexit vote’ Financial Times (28 February 2019) available at: <>; migration statistics for the UK are available at: <>.

114 On the common case of Irish ancestry for UK citizens, see Wood, P Burke and Gilmartin, M, ‘Irish Enough: Changing Narratives of Citizenship and National Identity in the Context of Brexit’ (2018) 22 Space and Polity 224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

115 The Belfast Agreement (10 April 1998) available at: <>; see ‘UK Accused of Not Honouring Dual Citizenship Commitments’ The Irish Times (6 March 2019) available at: <>.

116 Cf Commission Report on Investor Citizenship (n 74).

117 Harpaz, Y, ‘Compensatory Citizenship: Dual Nationality as a Strategy of Global Upward Mobility’ (2018) Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies <https://doi.10.1080/1369183X.2018.1440486>.Google Scholar

118 Case C-434/09 McCarthy v SSHD ECLI:EU:C:2011:277.

119 Case C-165/16 Lounes v SSHD ECLI:EU:C:2017:862. For commentary see D de Groot, ‘Free Movement of Dual EU Citizens’ (2018) 3 European Papers 1075.

120 Case C-135/08 Rottmann v Freistaat Bayern ECLI:EU:C:2010:104.

121 See the judgment of Laws LJ, at para 43, in G1 v Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2012] EWCA Civ 867.

122 For suggestions, see Schrauwen, A, ‘(Not) Losing out from Brexit’ (2017) 1 Europe and the World 1;Google Scholar Mindus, P, European Citizenship after Brexit: Freedom of Movement and Rights of Residence (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2017);CrossRefGoogle Scholar Cambien, N, ‘Residence Rights for EU Citizens and Their Family Members: Navigating the New Normal’ (2018) 3 European Papers 1333.Google Scholar The adoption of a human rights approach would require a significant shift on the part of the CJEU, given the limitations of the approach of the European Court of Human Rights to nationality issues: Dembour, M, ‘Ramadan v. Malta: When Will the Strasbourg Court Understand That Nationality Is a Core Human Rights Issue?’ Strasbourg Observers (22 July 2016) available at: <>.Google Scholar

123 ‘Appeal Judges Reject British EU Citizenship Claim, Won’t Refer to EU court’ Dutch News (21 June 2018) available at: <>.

124 McCrea, R, ‘Brexit EU Citizenship Rights of UK Nationals and the Court of JusticeUK Constitutional Law Blog (8 February 2018) available at: <>; van der Mei (n 110).Google Scholar

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126 Peers, S, ‘UK Citizens as Non-EU Citizens in the EU after Brexit: Applying the EU Directive on Non-EU Long-Term ResidentsEU Law Analysis Blog (27 December 2018) available at: <>.Google Scholar

127 See Peers (n 87).

128 Kurić and Others v Slovenia, No 26828/06, [2013] 56 EHRR 20.

129 Vidmar, J, ‘Brexit, Democracy and Human Rights: The Law between Secession and Treaty Withdrawal’ (2018) 35 Wisconsin International Law Journal 426.Google Scholar

130 Mindus (n 122); and Schrauwen (n 122).

131 Case C-221/17 Tjebbes v Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken ECLI:EU:C:2019:189.

132 ECLI:EU:C:2018:572.

133 For details see (n 99).

134 For details see Home Office in the Media, Factsheet: EU Settlement Scheme Fee Waiver (21 January 2019) available at: <>.

135 Barriers include (a) obtaining an EU permanent residence card (under existing EU law), which requires a person not working to show that they have private health insurance; (b) passing the life in the UK test; (c) high fees; and (d) passing a good character test. Details are available at: <https://>. In the UK, the share of citizenships granted to other EU citizens increased from 12 per cent to 24 per cent between 2016 and 2017: see ‘Naturalisation as a British Citizen: Concepts and Trends’ (3 August 2018) available at: <>. The true scale of the Brexit related push towards the acquisition of a new citizenship is yet to emerge, but anecdotal evidence has been gathered, e.g. Paduano, S, ‘The Great British Race to Get a Second PassportForeign Policy (29 January 2019) available at: <>.Google Scholar Eurostat figures for 2017 (‘EU Member States Granted Citizenship to over 800 Thousand Persons in 2017’, Eurostat News release 41/2019, 6 March 2019) highlight that within the EU only Romanians and Poles exceeded the number of UK citizens acquiring another EU citizenship, and the number of UK citizens acquiring another citizenship more than doubled between 2016 and 2017 (6,555 to 14,911).

136 See Yeo, Eurochildren Research Brief No 2 (n 102).

137 See House of Lords European Union Committee, Brexit: Acquired Rights, 10th Report of Session 2016–17, HL Paper 82; Guma and Dafydd Jones (n 21); Ranta and Nancheva (n 95).

138 Heald, A et al., ‘The LEAVE Vote and Racial Abuse towards Black and Minority Ethnic Communities across the UK: The Impact on Mental Health’ (2018) 111 Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 158.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

139 The full text of May’s speech is available at: <https://>.

140 Dutch Nationals Taking UK Citizenship ‘‘Will Lose Netherlands Passports’’’ The Guardian (17 July 2017) available at: <https://>..>Google Scholar

141 See ‘Brexit: Dutch Nationals Living in Britain Will Be Allowed Dual Citizenship’ The Guardian (10 October 2017) available at: <>; ‘D66 Calls for Relaxation of Dual Nationality Rules for People Hit by Brexit’ Dutch News (28 January 2019) available at: <https://>.

142 See ‘Brexit Transition Act’, Federal Foreign Office (1 February 2019) available at: <https://>.

143 Gonzales, R and Sigona, N, ‘Mapping the Soft Borders of Citizenship: An Introduction’ in Gonzales, R and Sigona, N (eds), Within and Beyond Citizenship: Borders, Membership and Belonging (Taylor and Francis, London, 2017) 1, 2 (original emphasis).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

144 Miller, R, ‘(Un)settling Home during the Brexit Process’ (2019) 25 Population, Space and Place <https://doi.10.1002/psp.2203>.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

145 See Shaw, J, ‘Unions and Citizens: Membership Status and Political Rights in Scotland, the UK and the EU’ in Closa (n 15) 153.Google Scholar

146 d’Oliveira, HUJ, Brexit, Nationality and Union Citizenship: Bottom Up, EUI Working Paper, RSCAS 2018/49.Google Scholar

147 See Börzel (n 2); and Börzel, T and Risse, T, ‘From Europeanisation to Diffusion: Introduction’ (2012) 35 West European Politics 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

148 Hillion, C, ‘Accession and Withdrawal in the Law of the European Union’ in Chalmers, D and Arnull, A, The Oxford Handbook of European Union Law (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2015).Google Scholar

149 Keil, S, ‘Europeanization, State-Building and Democratization in the Western Balkans’ (2013) 41 Nationalities Papers 343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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151 Dembour (n 122).

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153 See (n 10).

154 For more on citizenship in SFRY see Štiks, I, Nations and Citizens in Yugoslavia and the Post-Yugoslav States: One Hundred Years of Citizenship (Bloomsbury Academic, London, 2015) Ch 35.Google Scholar

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156 Štiks (n 154) Ch 6.

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158 Shaw and Štiks (n 152).

159 Hayden, R, ‘Constitutional Nationalism in the Formerly Yugoslav Republics’ (1992) 51 Slavic Review 654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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162 Krasniqi and Stjepanović (n 62) 114.

163 See Džankić (n 157).

164 Džankić, J, Country Report. Montenegro, EUDO Citizenship/GlobalCIT (November 2012) at fn 9, available at: <>.Google Scholar

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167 See Shaw (n 152).

168 L Spaskovska, ‘The Fractured “We” and the Ethno-National “I” – the Macedonian Citizenship Framework’ in Shaw and Štiks (n 152) 99.

169 G Krasniqi, ‘Overlapping Jurisdictions, Disputed Territory, Unsettled State: The Perplexing Case of Citizenship in Kosovo’ in Shaw and Štiks (n 152) 69.

170 Džankić, J and Keil, S, ‘The Europeanisation of Contested States: Comparing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro’ in Džankić, J et al. (eds), The Europeanisation of the Western Balkans: A Failure of EU Conditionality? (New Perspectives on South-East Europe) (Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2018) 181.Google Scholar

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173 Kacarska (n 171).

174 Sardelić, J, ‘The Position and Agency of the ‘‘Irregularized’’: Romani Migrants as European Semi-Citizens’ (2017) 37 Politics 332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

175 J Sardelić, From Temporary Protection to Transit Migration: Responses to Refugee Crises along the Western Balkan Route, EUI Working Paper, RSCAS 2017/35; C Minca et al., ‘Managing the “Refugee Crisis” along the Balkan Route: Field Notes from Serbia’ in Menjívar et al. (n 31).

176 D Župarić-Iljić and M Valenta, ‘“Refugee Crisis” in the Southeastern European Countries: The Rise and Fall of the Balkan Corridor’ in Menjívar et al. (n 31).

177 Commission Communication, A Credible Enlargement Perspective for and Enhanced EU Engagement with the Western Balkans, COM(2018) 65 (6 February 2018).

178 E Fouéré, ‘The Greek-Macedonian Name agreement - Promoting Reconciliation in the Western Balkans’ CEPS Commentary (29 January 2019).

179 Hillion (n 14); F Bieber, ‘Conclusion: Rethinking Europeanisation’ in Džankić et al. (n 170) 237.

180 Dwyer, P et al., ‘The Impact of Conditionality on the Welfare Rights of EU Migrants in the UK’ (2019) 47 Policy and Politics 133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

181 ‘EU-Western Balkans Summit: Improving Connectivity and Security in the Region’ European Commission Press Release, IP/18/3821 (17 May 2018).

182 Baker (n 9).

183 Horvat, S and Štiks, I (eds), Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism Radical Politics after Yugoslavia (Verso Books, London, 2015).Google Scholar

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185 Ibid.

186 On attitudes to EU membership and accession see the data collected on the Balkan Public Barometer available at: <https://>.

187 Castaldo, A and Pinna, A, ‘De-Europeanization in the Balkans. Media Freedom in Post-Milošević Serbia’ (2018) 19 European Politics and Society 264.Google Scholar

188 See Fouéré (n 178).

189 M Stojić, Party Responses to the EU in the Western Balkans (Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018).

190 Belloni (n 22).

191 Harpaz (n 117).

192 Tóth, J, ‘The Curious Case of Hungary: Why the Naturalisation Rate Does Not Always Show How Inclusive a Country Is’ GlobalCIT Blog (3 January 2018) available at: <>;Google Scholar Pogonyi, Sz, ‘The Passport as Means of Identity Management: Making and Unmaking Ethnic Boundaries through Citizenship’ (2018) Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 975 <>.Google Scholar

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194 V Neofotistos, ‘Bulgarian Passports, Macedonian Identity’ (2009) 25 Anthropology Today 19.

195 See text at (n 74) and following.

196 Majtényi, B et al., ‘“Only Fidesz” – Minority Electoral Law in HungaryVerfassungsblog (31 March 2018) available at: <>.Google Scholar

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198 For further details see ‘Acquisition of Citizenship Statistics’, Eurostat Statistics Explained (March 2019) available at: <>.

199 ‘Austrian Citizenship Awarded to Nearly 10,000 Foreigners’ Vindobona (28 February 2019) <https://>.

200 See Džankić (n 157).

201 Woelk, J, ‘From Enlargement Perspective to “Waiting for Godot”? Has the EU Lost Its Transformative Power in the Balkans?’ in Antoniolli, L et al. (eds), Highs and Lows of European Integration (Springer International Publishing, Cham, 2019) 27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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