The territory of the European Union (EU) hosts roughly 500 million people. Are they all equal in their rights? Definitely not. One of legal dividing lines lies between the nationals of EU Member States (Citizen) and third-country nationals (TCNs) whose citizenship belongs to a non-EU country. Nationality therefore does matter in EU law: it confers different statuses.
The paper compares the two separate legal regimes that are applicable to EU citizens and TCNs respectively. Due to the narrow scope of this essay, the analytical focus adopted here is under four major limitations. First, legal migrants coming from outside the EU constitute several different categories (for instance, economic migration, family reunion or migration of students, pupils, trainees, and volunteers) in EU law, which is even more complex because of privileged TCNs who gain their status from special arrangements between their own country and the EU, furthermore Schengen visa requirements mean additional classification along a different dimension. The essay deals only with non-privileged long-term residents (LTRs) as defined by the Council Directive 2003/109/EC concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (LTRs Directive) . Second, both EU citizens’ and LTRs’ rights comprise several dimensions (for example, access to employment, family reunification or social grants) but this study is mainly focused on their entitlements to move and reside within the territory of the EU. Third, the main concern of this paper is restrictions to the previously mentioned rights of both categories of persons. Fourth, the family members neither of Citizens nor TCNs are not part of the main body of this analysis.
Subsequently, the essay compares the scope of the rights conferred upon EU nationals and TCNs who are long-term residents concerning their freedom to move and reside on EU soil. Putting LTRs in contrast to Citizens is justified by their wide range of similarities but citizenship; therefore any difference indentified might be explained by Member States’ anxiety towards the Others . Moreover, LTRs’ integration into the host society is more advanced than any other category of immigrants, which would be a stronger ground for equal treatment. Therefore, comparing the rights, especially the limitations to them, conferred upon these two categories of persons residing in the EU might give some insights about the attitude of EU law towards non-nationals.
Two main argumentations are put forward in this essay. First, although both legal regimes are based on freedom to move and reside, they contain significant limitations that might result in a different outcome in practice than the principle originally implies. Second, these restrictions are more severe in the case of TCNs, which might mean that the underlying logics of the two legal regimes are extremely different, again contrary to the principles proclaimed.
To prove its points, the paper...