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Multilevel Citizenship

The Right to Consular Protection of EU Citizens Abroad

Eva-Maria Poptcheva

This book is the first monograph on one of the least studied and most controversial European Union citizenship rights. Despite the importance of consular protection in a globalised world, many EU Member States are reluctant to recognise consular protection for EU citizens abroad as a right, leading to a protracted struggle to place the right to consular protection on a solid legal basis through a directive.
This book examines the right to consular protection as an illustrative case in the debate over a multilevel design of EU citizenship combining rules from several different legal systems, whose interplay is reinforced by the extra-territorial character of consular protection.
It offers a comparative analysis of the provision of consular protection in the 28 EU Member States as well as of the respective international law and EU rules. By examining the right to consular protection in its constitutional setting as a right flowing from EU citizenship, the book frames the analysis of all EU citizenship rights as fundamental rights in a multilevel-governance context.
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The book of Eva-Maria Poptcheva addresses questions of utter importance for the way forward of European integration. The conviction that the future of the European Union towards a real federation passes inevitably through a positively construed ‘Union of Rights’, making citizens believing again in the European project, is in the centre of this book. The book acknowledges rightfully the stage in which European integration is at this moment by not trying to impose a rather idealistic concept of a federal Union citizenship, conceived of by the hierarchical relationship between national, supranational and international norms, but understands to combine both citizens’ aspiration to be part of a community entitling to certain rights, as well as Member States’ legitimate interest to remain Masters of core state competences inherent to their state sovereignty, and the strive of the international community to see observed the rules of the game between international law subjects. This is the great achievement of the paradigm of ‘multilevel constitutionalism’ – it allows us to overcome the shortcomings of the current stage of the European Union architecture, somewhere on the way to a federal union.

The multilevel-constitutionalism approach has turned into a quasi-philosophical paradigm, into a being and time, to put it with Heidegger’s words, seeking to explain in an abstract-juridical way the interplay of legal orders within one and the same subject. Nowadays, it is no longer possible to employ a legal approach to the analysis of a right without taking into account that the applicable...

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