Saturday, May 10, 2008

European Union electoral rights and the political participation of migrants in host polities

n 1993 the introduction of the legal framework of European Union citizenship through the Treaty of Maastricht heralded the institution of a range of limited electoral rights for EU citizens resident in other Member States. The origins of these rights lie in impulses towards the democratisation of the EU and its institutions, as well as in the search to enhance the legitimacy of the Union through the development of a concept of citizenship. This paper investigates further the implications of treating this group of EU law rights as a species of migrants' rights, and questions how far they introduce a principle of alien suffrage positing that host polities ought wherever possible to afford political participation rights to (long-term) resident non-nationals, in the interests of promoting democracy and human rights. It questions the consistency and normative effects of these rights, which specifically exclude from participation third-country nationals, who cannot enjoy Union citizenship rights since they lack the nationality of a Member State. The paper concludes by suggesting changes to the framework of EU electoral rights which might be considered in the context of the ongoing process of constitutional and governance reform in the EU. Copyright ­© 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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