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Contested European Citizenship: Results from a 13 Country Survey

Jürgen Gerhards, Holger Lengfeld & Clara Dilger

Berlin Studies on the Sociology of Europe (BSSE) No. 40 | January 2020 | Download as pdf


European citizenship consisting of equal economic, social, and political rights for all EU citizens has come under pressure in recent years due to the different crisis the EU had to face. Based on a survey conducted in 13 EU member states we examined to what extent EU-citizens support the notion that citizens from other European countries should enjoy the same rights as nationals. Overall, only 56 % of EU citizens support the idea that EU foreigners and national citizens should be treated equally. In addition, we find remarkable variations between the countries. Multivariate analysis indicates that cultural factors on the individual and the country level have a strong impact on attitudes towards Europeanised equality, whereas structural factors that are related to individuals’ and a countries’ socioeconomic position are only of minor importance. One can conclude from our findings that the EU is not only situated in an institutional but also in a legitimacy crisis.


European citizenship, attitudes towards equal rights, legitimacy, survey research

Soziologie - Euiropäische Gesellschaften