Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


European Citizenship – Development, Scope, and Challenges

University of Copenhagen via Coursera


All citizens in the EU are granted a European Citizenship on top of their national citizenship. Which rights and opportunities does this supra- and transnational citizenship provide? And what are the challenges and dilemmas of the two-level citizenship – for individuals, for the member states and for the union? This course examines the development, the scope and the challenges of European Citizenship.

The course has a threefold aim: to explore the development, application and current challenges of European citizenship. This aim is examined through three modules. The first module focuses on the development of European Citizenship: What are the substantive rights of citizenship beyond the state, and which institutions have been key to their development? Here, we focus on free movement for persons, cross-border welfare, and political rights – especially the European Citizens' Initiative. The second module focuses on the application of EU citizenship: How is EU citizenship practised? Is EU citizenship limited or extensive when compared to the US federal system, for example? Is it still foremost a right for those who move from member state to member state, but not for those who stay in their member state of origin? Finally, the third module examines the extent to which the rules and rights around European citizenship have been contested and politicized during the last decade. In this part of the course, we also look into the de-Europeanisation of citizenship through Brexit.

The course is funded by Erasmus+ and developed by the 4EU+ University Alliance, consisting of six European Universities: Univerzita Karlova, Universität Heidelberg, Sorbonne Université, Københavns Universitet, Università degli studi di Milano, Uniwersytet Warszawski.


  • The Development and Status of European Citizenship
    • Although European citizenship was established with the Treaty of Maastricht, which entered into force in 1993, its development and reasoning originate back to the Treaty of Rome in 1958 with free movement for workers and the historically more limited right to cross-border welfare. Since its establishment, the substantive rights of European citizenship have grown, not least through the Court of Justice of the European Union as an important institutional entrepreneur. In this lecture, the development and current status of European Citizenship will be explored by discussing core rights such as equal treatment, free movement, cross-border welfare, and political rights in terms of the European Citizens’ Initiative.
  • EU Citizenship for 'Movers' and 'Stayers'
    • This second module further explores the scope of European citizenship, but adds the limits that materialize when rules and rights are applied in practice. We will look into pension, healthcare and family benefits, youth social integration and protection rights beyond the EU territory, as well as the challenges that might arise due to the inherent multilingualism and multiculturalism of the European Union. This module will seek answers to pertinent questions such as: Is European citizenship unequal in practice? Why is an issue, such as the exportability of family benefits, highly politicized in some member states? How do rights extend beyond the EU territory? What are the more recent developments of European citizenship and does that do away with the critique that European citizenship is a privilege for those on the move, but a rather hollow right for those who stay? Overall, this module aims to understand European Citizenship in context.
  • Challenges to European Citizenship
    • The third module turns to the challenges of European citizenship. We will present the two sides of the theoretical debate on whether it makes sense to use the concept of citizenship beyond the borders of the nation state. The theoretical critique will first be presented and then responded to. In addition, we will examine welfare chauvinism as a current political challenge to European citizenship. Finally, the lecture turns to de-Europeanisation of citizenship as a result of Brexit. While the process of de-Europeanisation takes away concrete rights for UK citizens in the Union and for EU citizens in the United Kingdom, the process of de-institutionalization also showcases the substantive scope of a key EU institution, matured through gradual steps of integration.

Taught by

Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen


4.9 rating at Coursera based on 22 ratings

Start your review of European Citizenship – Development, Scope, and Challenges

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.