When and how have free movement and social citizenship been reconciled in federal settings characterised by devolved welfare responsibilities and extensive internal diversity? The EU fails to guarantee minimum social protection rights for EU citizens migrating within the Union, as access to social assistance in countries of destination is highly conditional. This situation is very similar to historical experiences in other federations, where fears of welfare migration and tensions between federal and sub-federal competencies made it difficult to guarantee social assistance rights for all citizens. A comparison of the North German Confederation, Switzerland and the USA, demonstrates that such rights nonetheless have been extended to all citizens in federations and that this occurred along two pathways: (a) a judicial pathway through the intervention of a constitutional court; or (b) a political pathway through incremental change. The conclusion considers possible implications of these findings for the EU.
Cecilia Bruzelius and Martin Seeleib-Kaiser, Social citizenship in federations: free movement and social assistance rights in the EU and beyond, West European Politics, 2020.