CJEU case law on EU citizenship: normatively consistent? Unlikely! - A response to Davies’ ‘Has the Court changed, or have the cases?’
Written by Alexander Hoogenboom, associate researcher at ITEM.
Recent case law of the Court of Justice on EU citizens’ access to benefits has been seen by some as a restrictive turn compared to prior case law, in response to a rise in populism. However, the article by Davies in a recent special issue of the Journal of European Public Policy is to be commended for its original take on this alleged ‘turn to restrictiveness’.
The goal of his article is, as I see it, questioning whether the Court has indeed recently become stricter (in the sense of more State-friendly, less Union citizen-friendly) in response to the populist turn in the European political landscape. In that vein, Davies submits, contrary to what he sees is the main thrust in the scholarship, that the court has been ‘normatively consistent’ (see also this research paper he authored) and that the perceived difference in recent litigation outcomes from the golden years of Union citizenship are due to the litigants being less ‘deserving’ of access to benefits provided by the host Member State: ‘what goes in will provide an overwhelmingly plausible explanation of the outcomes on its own’.