Economic activity and EU citizenship law: Seeding means-based logic in a status-based freedom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

It is normally assumed that freedom of movement for workers and self-employed persons produces deeper legal privilege than free movement disconnected from economic activity. While, in many respects, that is true, this chapter probes the relationship between Union citizenship and economic activity further. It argues that the influence of economic free movement on citizenship has been largely constitutive and rights-deepening, but the influence of citizenship on economic free movement has become somewhat deconstructive and rights-thinning. The chapter shows that the traditional emphasis on status in economic free movement law yields increasingly to the importance of both means and integration in EU citizenship law. Questions raised by the chapter sit in thorny debates about the reach and purpose of free movement and Union citizenship. In that light, the historical disconnect between status and means in economic free movement law has, unsurprisingly, come under strain. A difficulty with pursuing comprehensive reform is that, in the current political and economic climate, confronting status and means mismatches could aggravate the vulnerability of economically active citizens—vulnerability created in part, ironically, by concepts designed for EU citizenship law. We should therefore think carefully before essential features of economic free movement law are recast: not least because the evidence base presumed to support more restrictive free movement would need to be more robust, beyond an intuitive sense of relevant factors or preferences; but also, because the freedoms protected by EU internal market law, since the very foundations of the Treaty of Rome, really matter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRevisiting the Fundamentals of the Free Movement of Persons
EditorsNiamh Nic Shuibhne
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198886273
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2023

Publication series

NameCollected Courses of the Academy of European Law
PublisherOxford University Press

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Union citizenship
  • free movement of workers
  • freedom of establishment
  • economic activity
  • Directive 2004/38
  • Regulation 492/2011
  • integration


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