In 2020, Brexit dominated the political agenda of the EU for its considerable consequences. One important aspect, however, has surprisingly been neglected: the question what Brexit means to the concept of EU citizenship.
Apart from the specific relevance for citizens, the effects of Brexit on rights granted under EU citizenship are of importance for the abstract concept of EU citizenship. Differently from market freedoms – which are intrinsically linked to the market, where workers as economic actors may be constantly affected by the changing economic policies of their national States and of their trade partners – EU citizenship also has a unique political and ideological basis and hence partially follows different aims. Its concept fundamentally differs, as it is intended to establish a bond existing beyond the market and – by attributing to EU citizens a fundamental status – is directly addressed to citizens as citizens, not as economic actors. The perspective of a disorderly Brexit with the consequence of Article 50 (3) teu, that “[…] the Treaties cease to apply […]”, depriving EU/ UK citizens of all corresponding rights against their will, would mean a severe setback to this concept and thus expose it as a hollow ideology. This message, however, would not only concern citizens who lose these rights but would, moreover, affect the entire concept in the EU27.
While being raised in the context of Brexit, this aspect goes beyond, given that the same question is raised in the context of potential secessions from EU Member States and the fate of their citizens, for instance Catalunya where Catalan citizens might immediately be stripped of EU citizenship whether they would have opted for Catalan independence or not.
The impact of the law of the European Union (eu) differs considerably among the various Central and Eastern European (cee) states. Some cee states are eu member states; others are accession candidates, while still others have signed association agreements with the eu. Clearly, eu law applies to each group in different ways. Furthermore, other cee countries are member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (eaeu). Although not directly impacted by eu law, eaeu states may face questions of economic integration similar to those which have faced a challenge to the eu and, thus, likely will have a practical interest in legal comparisons. Accordingly – albeit to varying degrees – scholars and practitioners in the entire cee region inevitably find themselves confronted by issues requiring a strong understanding of eu law and, for that reason, will require reliable resources for research purposes. As such, the aim of this review article is to introduce rceel readers to the concept of commentaries on eu law, generally, as well as to three major German commentaries on eu law, specifically.