Citizenship and Obligation*

Pavlos Eleftheriadis

in Philosophical Foundations of European Union Law

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588770
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191741029 | DOI:

Series: Philosophical Foundations of Law

Citizenship and Obligation*

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This chapter asks if the European Union can plausibly create political obligations, the particular type of obligation normally associated with states and their citizens. Many political philosophers believe that we owe moral obligations to our political communities simply because we belong to them. Can such moral obligations be created by European Union institutions? It discusses the idea of a “natural duty of justice” to support just or nearly just political institutions as defended by Kant, John Rawls, and Jeremy Waldron. It suggests that European Union institutions can be seen to create similar obligations, only if we adopt a cosmopolitan theory of political legitimacy for both domestic and international institutions. It proposes a new distinction between a “duty of jurisdiction,” owed by everyone to every legitimate state, and a “duty of civility,” owed by citizens to their own states. Although European citizenship is not replacing state citizenship, the nature of the EU entails moral obligations of similar weight to those of the states.

Keywords: European Union; political obligations; moral obligations; justice; political institutions; duty of jurisdiction; duty of civility

Chapter.  17017 words. 

Subjects: EU Law

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