Citizenship and European Enlargement:
the role of Higher Education
Scope of the discussion
Each of the key terms, ‘citizenship’, ‘European enlargement’ and ‘higher education’ at the core of the HERN work package 6 must be recognised as problematic and contested concepts. Some clarification will be required before we can even begin to clarify the contexts in different countries let alone attempt to make any meaningful comparisons that are relevant to future policies. In what follows, we shall position these concepts as questions as the basis for contributions during the seminar in Leiden and the subsequent e-forum.
‘Citizenship’: a changing, contested and fragmented concept?
Citizenship has a long tradition in Europe as a predominantly political and
constitutional concept referring to the reciprocity of the rights and duties
of the individual. But this does not necessarily imply that citizenship is simply
a question of membership of a nation state. This has come to the fore in the
EU since article 8 of the Treaty of Maastricht recognised the concept of European
citizenship (see full text in appendix) that will also apply to the inhabitants
of the accession states as part of the enlargement process.
While citizenship has been associated, and still is by many, with the rights and duties of citizens of nation states, the development of the EU as an economic and political entity has introduced the issue of ‘post-national citizenship’ in such transnational polities. In order to avoid the simplistic reduction of the concept of citizenship as meaning citizenship of a nation state, the recent literature has reformulated citizenship in terms of membership of and participation in a ‘community’. The nation state could in this formulation constitute a community, but membership of other forms of community can also be envisaged as a basis of citizenship. For, example is the EU a ‘community’ in this sense as a transnational polity? Is it also possible to envisage ‘community’ at the level of the region, even in the form of a sub-national polity? The use of the term community in order to reconsider citizenship as involving membership of and participation in a community immediately raises three questions:
1) the criterion for ‘membership’ of the community in question, and the issues of inclusion and exclusion ;
2) the respective rights and duties of ‘members’ of a community and the related issue of the (re-) socialisation of the ‘other’ into membership of the community;
3) participation by members in a community raises questions of democracy and the governance of the community.
These questions and issues are central to any consideration of citizenship in the context of European enlargement.
We are moving into a new debate about citizenship in an enlarging, and at the
same increasingly diverse and multicultural, Europe, and the need to discuss
of the conflicting demands upon the rights and duties of membership of a multilevel
Europe at the supra-national, national and regional levels. Problematic here
is the challenge of the post-national sense of identity to the dominance of
conceptions of national citizenship. Whether Habermas is correct or not with
his argument that the nation state is in terminal decline, we face the challenge
of re-negotiating membership of communities at the European, the nation and
the regional levels, and the basis of membership of and socialisation into such
‘communities’. This debate tends at the moment to focus on the challenge
to the national, and indeed ethnic, conceptions of citizenship that is posed
by international migration to Europe. The question becomes one of whether citizenship
and nationality can be uncoupled in order to create a pluralism in the sense
of membership of Europe as a ‘community of communities’.
There is a trend, if voting patterns in recent elections in many European countries are indicative of public opinion, of a shift towards the resurgence of the notion of membership of the nation as the basis for determining who is a citizen with the rights and duties of the citizen. This strengthening of nationhood, national identity, and national citizenship gives rise to a sharpening of the criteria of membership of the nation, that in turn contributes to issues of inclusion and exclusion. One result of this is a trend towards the ‘enforced’ initiation of ‘the other’ in the host ‘nation’ in the form of citizenship courses for immigrants. The social reality of cultural pluralism in multicultural societies in Europe is now questioned as posing a threat to the national identity. Populist right-wing politicians throughout Europe are currently redefining the criteria of ‘full’ membership of the nation that resort to the quasi-natural features of historical national communities whose shared values and norms are threatened by the presence of ‘the other’.
At the same time, as Habermas also points out, we are witnessing throughout Europe the fragmentation of the notion of the nation state that was operational as the integrative core of modernisation processes since the late eighteenth century. Of great importance here are the forces associated with the influences of globalisation, particularly in the economic sphere where nation states are no longer entirely in control of their own economic destinies in the current neo-liberal world order of deregulated capitalism. Arenas of political action must necessarily adjust to this new reality given the emergence of global deregulated markets and self-regulating social and cultural networks that are no longer governed by the nation state in the last instance.
The concept of citizenship as membership of the national community was largely seen as involving ‘full membership’ of that community on the basis of equality in terms of all rights, and the reciprocal duties, in different spheres of life in the community. These involved:
1) civic rights: such as the freedom from state interference in the management of one’s own individual or group affairs;
2) political rights: such as the right to vote and to be elected;
3) social rights: such as the right as a citizen to education, health care, social insurance and benefits, etc.);
4) cultural rights: such as the right to freedom of thought and religion.
Of some interest here in the European context since the Second World War, is that a significant distinction has emerged between the rights of citizens of nation states and their universal ‘human rights’ in terms of international agreements. This has led to a breakdown of closed concepts of citizenship based on nationality in favour of a more universalistic concept based on the ‘individuality’ of the human being. Judgements made by the European Court of Justice have in this respect often granted rights to the individual citizens of member states that they do not enjoy under prevailing national laws. In this regard we again encounter the notion of a post-national membership where individual human rights and the rights of the citizens of a nation state can become divorced.
On the issue of social rights, however, the prevailing situation is contradictory. Article 8 of the Treaty of Maastricht actually formulated European citizenship in terms of citizenship of the nation state. Despite the development of the single European market for capital, services, goods and labour, this means that the social rights of European citizens continue to be defined in terms of their membership of the nation state and that these rights are not automatically transferable in the transnational context of the EU. This restriction on the transferability of social rights within the EU is one of the major reasons why the mobility of labour within the EU is limited. It also partly explains why European labour markets have failed to develop to any significant degree. In response to this, the argument has been put forward that the development of a European citizenship demands the recognition of a post-national membership of the EU that should focus not only on the right to participate in the democratic governance of European institutions – this is at the core of the Maastricht understanding of European citizenship. The alternative is to focus on a non-exclusionary concept of social citizenship in Europe and the recognition of transferable social rights at the European level.
This requires shifting the debate towards the linking of citizenship and social rights entitlements to the European level together with the formulation of concepts of European citizenship predicated upon substantive equality between citizens of the member states. In this regard, citizenship does not need to be generated from a sense of national, ethnic, or regional identity, but should be mediated through arrangements for social citizenship at a European level. Such arrangements would seek to empower individuals both on the grounds of their active participation in the internal labour market, together with the guarantee of their entitlements to equal social rights at the transnational level of the EU. Given the limited competence of the EU in the sphere of social rights, together with the fear of member states that labour mobility will land their national social and welfare systems with the burdens of ‘failed mobility’ in the form of paying benefits to ‘foreign’ nationals – although these are technically European citizens - this is the ground upon which the struggle has to be fought if the EU is to become an effective transnational community conferring equal rights upon its members. Mobility in Europe must not be punished, but it should be rewarded with the social rights of membership of this community without reference to membership of a national state.
Examples of such issues in the area of higher education
We refer here to just three examples in the context of decisions by the European Court of Justice, and we look forward to the construction of a comprehensive list of relevant questions during the Leiden seminar and e-forum:
1) do nationals of a member state have the right to use the public student financial support system in that state - in the form of grants and loans - when they attend higher education in another member state of the EU?;
2) do nationals of a member state resident in another member state have the right to use the public student financial support system of that country when they study in their own or a third member state?;
3) do nationals of a member state have the right to use their entitlements to public student financial support systems in order to purchase higher education from commercial providers of higher education?
4) are there specific national policies in place to promote mobility at the European level?;
5) which forms of mobility are stimulated?;
Judgements by the European Court of Justice in cases pursued by individual citizens of EU member states, and opposed by the national governments concerned, have voted in favour with regard to questions 1) and 2), an against with regard to question 3). The latter decision was based on the court’s argument that public systems of student financial support can only be used to pay tuition fees at publicly accredited institutions of higher education. As such, these are examples of a trans-national court recognising the rights to European citizens that are denied them by own national governments. These are examples of just one substantive problem with regard to the political economy of mobility in European higher education that need to be addressed in both the existing and accession member states of the EU as part of the determination of the rights of European citizens to pursue higher education in the recently defined ‘European Space for Higher Education’. We hope to be able to establish a more comprehensive set of substantive issues during the Leiden seminar.
Enlargement: European, national and regional citizenship?
The geographical area within which the process of EU expansion is currently
played out is characterised by three fundamental historical transformations
that impact upon the dynamics of citizenship and national identity at the European,
national and regional levels.
The first of these transformations stems from the break-up of the Soviet Union, the collapse of state socialism in the ex-Soviet sphere of Europe, and the new-found independence of the countries of the Baltic, Central, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. After ten years of painful and uncompleted processes of transformation towards liberal democracies and market economies, many of these countries are now negotiating their membership of the EU. These modernisation processes have thrown questions of citizenship and identity into sharp relief in many countries and often very different ways. In the accession states, there are clear manifestations of the fear that the EU will replace the Soviet stranglehold and will threaten the rejuvenation of national independence and identity since 1989. This raises the issue of EU versus national citizenship and identity and the possibility of a post-national form of citizenship and identity. Perhaps more fundamental issues of citizenship and identity in these countries are associated with the re-emergence of ethnic conflicts and the struggles for the rights of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and national minorities etc. This raises significant issues of regional or sub-national identities in relationship to citizenship.
The second major transformation is the process of economic and political integration of the existing member states of the EU. Among important issues here is the tense relationships between notions of EU citizenship – as agreed in article 8 of the Maastricht Treaty – and national citizenship and identity. There are four key question with regard to citizenship and identity in the transnational context of the EU. One involves the issue of multiple identities in a transnational polity such as the EU and the notion of post-national citizenship. The second is a question of the citizenship rights associated with the single market context of the EU as discussed previously, and in particular whether the social rights of individuals can be transferred from the national to the European level in order to promote mobility. Thirdly, there is the question of the so-called democratic deficit in the institutions of the EU and the problematic transfer to the level of the EU of the democratic processes associated with the liberal democracies of modern European nation states. Fourthly, there has been a significant trend towards regionalism in many member states of the EU and the rejuvenation of sub-national identities. The rise of regionalism in Europe – including both strong claims for actual secession from the nation state – as in with the Basques and in Northern Ireland - together with milder forms of claims for political or cultural autonomy, has undermined the consensus about citizenship and identity based on the nation state. In the United Kingdom for example, constitutional reform towards decentralisation has resulted in the creation of sub-national polities in the form of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parliaments that occasionally pursue policies within their powers that significantly diverge from those of the United Kingdom parliament in London. In the case of linguistic minorities, it should not be forgotten that the EU has a quite significant programme for both the recognition and financial support for minority languages that is also cross-border in its ramifications – an example would be the common languages which are used on an everyday basis by the habitants of the north of The Netherlands, northern Germany and south-western Denmark.
The third major transformation on the European stage involves the encounter with the consequences of global migration, including the results of de-colonisation, and the emergence of EU member states as multicultural societies with often quite significant diasporas of immigrant populations. On the one hand, this involves, the migration to Europe of large numbers of people – whether as ex-colonials, economic migrants and political refugees - from third countries that are neither member states of the European Union nor accession states. On the other hand, there are also not insignificant migrant flows between the countries of Europe as a whole, whereby the potential of migration from East to West in an enlarged EU has become an issue in current negotiations about enlargement including the imposition of restrictions on the free movement of ‘new Europeans’ for periods up to ten years following their accession to the EU. This demands the recognition that an enlarging Europe is also a multicultural Europe embracing not only the cultural diversity of Europe itself, but also sources of cultural diversity from outside of Europe. An enlarging Europe is not merely a question of the economic and political integration of European nation states. It is also a cultural transformation that confronts the multicultural societies of Europe with the problem of the integration of often significant populations of new migrants and minorities. Here we encounter at both European and national levels significant issues of social inclusion and exclusion as part of the struggle to maintain social cohesion. Problematic responses to the multicultural nature of European societies in many countries is currently manifested in the significant political shift to the right, and the reworking of national identity and citizenship by populist political movements. From the viewpoint of any discussion of citizenship, such major transformations of Europe into an arena of multicultural populations raises a number of fundamental issues concerning the rights and duties of different groups among the inhabitants of these countries.
Taking these three major transformations together, it can be argued that at a time when the EU strives to impose its new-found supranational institutions on the future history of so many nations, Europe discovers its own deep seams of pluralism and differences. This is manifested in the very complex process where notions of nationhood are reconstructed, sub-national identities from past history are reborn, and ‘the other from elsewhere’ must be accommodated in some manner if social cohesion is to be achieved. This gives rise to some very complicated linkages between questions of citizenship and identity at the European, national and regional levels.
Examples of such issues in the area of higher education:
We again make reference here to just a few examples of questions and issues in this area, and we look forward to the construction of a more comprehensive list of relevant issues during the Leiden seminar and e-forum:
1) in the context of policy formulation for higher education, are policies in place that address issues of social inclusion and exclusion?;
2) are specific priorities and target groups designated with regard to access to higher education?; (n.b.: excluded from consideration here are questions of gender equality and the physical and mentally handicapped that are involved in other HERN work-packages devoted to these specific issues);
3) is specific attention devoted to ethnic, cultural and linguistic minorities, etc., in terms of their access to higher education?;
4) which specific policy measures and instruments have been developed to promote access to higher education for designated minority groups?;
5) are specific policies in place with regard to sub-regional communities?;
6) if so, which specific policy instruments are in place to enhance the use made by such communities of higher education institutions?
European, national and regional arena’s of higher education?
Given the preceding discussion of issues surrounding citizenship and European
enlargement, it is important to state immediately that we shall NOT focus our
attention in this context on the relationships between citizenship and higher
education solely in terms of student and staff mobility in European Union programmes,
such as SOCRATES/ERASMUS and LEONARDO, or the so-called ‘European dimension’
of programmes of study in higher education. While such programmes are significant
aspects of EU policy in the area of higher education, issues concerning the
relationships between higher education and citizenship in an enlarging Europe
are more fundamental and problematic than the formal objectives of these EU
mobility programmes. We shall demonstrate an interest in such programmes where
they have produced evidence of non-formal and informal learning about the broader
issues of citizenship at the European, national and regional levels. Of particular
interest here, is that evaluations of students’ experiences in the existing
mobility programmes do suggest that the more informal aspects of everyday learning
experiences during such exchanges are indicative of learning experiences that
are relevant to issues of citizenship. Formal learning and learning experiences
in the workplace, in the case of work-placements, do not seem to be so important
to students compared to the more mundane issues of cross-cultural learning in
day-to-day life while they are abroad.
Furthermore, higher education in the EU member states and the accession states, have engaged in the meantime, upon a much more ambitious project for the creation of a ‘European space for higher education’. In addition to the existing mobility programmes, an important initiative has been the agreement to develop a common European structure of Bachelor and Master cycles in higher education. This was agreed in the Bologna Declaration of 1999, and it has since been enhanced and extended to accession countries and others, including non-EU candidate countries in Prague in 2001. An important aspect of this new structure is the intention to promote mobility of students between different countries within regular programmes of higher education and particularly in the Master cycle. A secondary objective is the long-term promotion of greater mobility on the labour market.
While developments following Bologna are now making an impact upon the reorganisation of the structures of higher education throughout Europe, national systems of higher education find themselves challenged on many fronts with the need to make a significant contribution to the transformation of national economies into knowledge economies that can compete in global and European markets. There is an undeniable trend in higher education throughout Europe towards an emphasis upon enhancing the employability of graduates who will be able to find a place on the European labour market. Public investment, and indeed their own private investment, in higher education, are increasingly regarded in terms of their contribution to broad-based competencies, the self-management their careers, and maintenance of their employability. We may note two interesting developments in this context of the economic importance of higher education in the global knowledge economy. On the one hand, individual students in higher education are encouraged to work on the development of their employability in the interests of the competitiveness of national economies in a form of ‘economic citizenship’ in the stakeholder society. On the other hand, there is a growing interest on the part of larger and especially multinational business concerns in the development of ‘corporate citizenship’ among potential recruits among higher education students. How are we to understand such programmes for ‘corporate citizenship’ in terms of the reciprocal rights and duties associated with membership of diverse and sometimes conflicting communities? How far does this radically differ in the global economy from the traditional role of higher education in the socialisation of members of the ecclesiastical, bureaucratic, technocratic and professional Úlites so well known to the administrative needs of the nation state?
In the process of transformation to knowledge economies, institutions of higher education are now being called upon to make a more deliberate contribution to economic and social development at the national and more particularly at the regional level. EU and national policies increasingly regard institutions for higher education as stake-holders in society that should co-operate with other stakeholders in regional economic infrastructures such as regional, provincial and local authorities, public institutions, development agencies, large companies together with small- and medium-sized firms, employers organisations and trade unions. Institutions of higher education are expected to develop policies for developing their strategic partnerships with such groups with the aim of establishing regional ‘knowledge infrastructures’. Within such strategic partnerships, higher education institutions are expected to make their generation of knowledge and their provision of educational programmes more accessible and responsive to regional needs. Such developments locate higher education institutions as stakeholders in the economic community and tend to emphasise their contribution to the promotion of the ‘economic citizenship’ at the regional level.
Despite the current emphasis on the role of higher education institutions in regional economic development, however, such institutions often have (had) a tradition of providing support for other organisations and groups in the political, social and cultural dimensions of life in their regions. Contributions by higher education institutions to these diffuse spheres of life have often been important in working with and providing supporting for organisations and groups involved in the development or revival of civil society at the regional level. This is relevant to the current debate about ‘active citizenship’ that has been stimulated by recent contributions to theories of civil society, communitarianism, social economy, and associative democracy. Such theories point to the central role of voluntary associations, non-government, and non-profit organisations in the development of the competencies associated with active citizenship. They argue that such competencies cannot be acquired by individuals through their participation in the economic market-place or the political institutions of nation state. Instead they propose that the civic virtues of solidarity and mutual obligation are best learned in voluntary associations such as: families, neighbourhood associations, charities, churches, trade unions, co-operatives, environmental groups and mutual support groups, etc. In the context of our discussions about higher education and citizenship, the forms of engagement by higher education institutions in the development of civil society in their regions should be an important issue.
Examples of such issues in the area of higher education:
We again make reference here to just a few examples of questions and issues in this area, and we look forward to the construction of a more comprehensive list of relevant issues during the Leiden seminar and e-forum:
1) are higher education institutions expected to make a contribution to the economic development of their regions?;
2) if so, with which other economic stakeholders do they co-operate?;
3) what forms do regional ‘knowledge networks take?;
4) higher education institutions make a contribution to civil society in their regions?;
5) if so, with which organisation and groups do they co-operate?;
6) what kinds of activities are developed?
extract from the Treat of Maastricht on European citizenship
CITIZENSHIP OF THE UNION
1. Citizenship of the Union is hereby established.
Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union.
2. Citizens of the Union shall enjoy the rights conferred by this Treaty and shall be subject to the duties imposed thereby.
1. Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in this Treaty and by the measures adopted to give it effect.
2. The Council may adopt provisions with a view to facilitating the exercise of the rights referred to in paragraph 1; save as otherwise provided in this Treaty, the Council shall act unanimously on a proposal from the Commission after obtaining the assent of the European Parliament.
1. Every citizen of the Union residing in a Member State of which he is not a national shall have the right to vote and to stand as a candidate at municipal elections in the Member State in which he resides, under the same conditions as nationals of that State. This right shall be exercised subject to detailed arrangements to be adopted before 31 December 1994 by the Council, acting unanimously, on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament; these arrangements may provide for derogations where warranted by problems specific to a Member State.
2. Without prejudice to Article 1 38(3) and to the provisions adopted for its implementation, every citizen of the Union residing in a Member State of which he is not a national shall have the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament in the Member State in which he resides, under the same conditions as nationals of that State. This right shall be exercised subject to detailed arrangements to be adopted before 31 December 1993 by the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament; these arrangements may provide for derogations where warranted by problems specific to a Member State.
Every citizen of the Union shall, in the territory of a third country in which the Member State of which he is a national is not represented, be entitled to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any Member State, on the same conditions as the nationals of that State. Before 31 December 1993, Member States shall establish the necessary rules among themselves and start the international negotiations required to secure this protection.
Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to petition the European Parliament in accordance with Article 138d.
Every citizen of the Union may apply to the Ombudsman established in accordance with Article 138e.
The Commission shall report to the European Parliament, to the Council and to the Economic and Social Committee before 31 December 1993 and then every three years on the application of the provisions of this Part. This report shall take account of the development of the Union.
On this basis, and without prejudice to the other provisions of this Treaty, the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, may adopt provisions to strengthen or to add to the rights laid down in this Part, which it shall recommend to the Member States for adoption in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements."