How the EU Mitigates a Fundamental Democratic Deficit of European Nation-States

The European Union, many believe, has a democratic deficit. The sovereign nation-state is seen as democratically superior. Even more, it is often argued that the EU undermines the functioning of national democracies, compounding this alleged democratic deficit.

In our article we show that when it comes to the electoral inclusion of immigrants, nation states suffer from a democratic deficit and the EU plays a democracy-enhancing role. European democracies are much more exclusive than they should be according to normative standards derived from democratic theory. The EU has been key to mitigating the exclusiveness of democracies. By requiring its member states to enfranchise non-national EU citizens on the local level, it pushes one of the currently most relevant “frontiers of democracy” in the right direction. Read More …

ECHR Alpeyeva and Dzhalagoniya v. Russia: mass-confiscation of passports violates article 8

On the 12th of June the ECHR declared a violation of the right to private life (article 8) of two individuals who were left stateless in Russia for several years as a result of bureaucratic deficiencies not attributable to them. The judgment strengthens even further the Court’s earlier case law on the connection between nationality rights, statelessness, and article 8 of the ECHR. Read More …

The ‘Windrush Generation’ and Citizenship

Commonwealth citizens who came to the UK in the period after the Second World War are now close to retirement age and their right to live in the UK has come under challenge, with catastrophic consequences for some. The story has become a major political scandal and has led to the resignation of the Home Secretary Amber Rudd. It is a rare instance of public and mainstream media support for migrants. Read More …

“Restore the factory settings”: Efforts to control executive discretion in nationality administration in Africa

March 2018 saw a series of bold rulings by African courts to protect both prominent politicians and ordinary people against excessive discretion in decisions relating to the right to a nationality. Most notably, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in its first decision touching on nationality administration, found Tanzania in violation of norms against arbitrary deprivation of nationality. Read More …

Tales of changing citizenship: what applicants told me about the process of making Britain their home

People who successfully apply for British citizenship are seldom asked to recount their stories. They simply carry on with their lives. But how does it really feel to go through the process of becoming a British citizen? What does achieving citizenship mean to those who gain it? How does it affect their sense of identity and belonging? To answer these questions for my new book, Britishness, Belonging and Citizenship I spoke to 30 successful applicants about their experiences. Read More …