EU Competence and the Attribution of Nationality in Member States – IMC-RP 2019/2


The EU’s limited competences in the field of immigration introduce significant limits on the EU’s ability to harmonize or introduce uniform rules in the laws of nationality of its Member States. This paper will portray the EU’s competences in the field, as well as the Court of Justice’s position in the matter. It will be argued that the cases in which EU law can interfere in Member State’s laws on nationality concern cases of restrictions of EU rights, but not cases in which the attribution of nationality is a source of EU rights for the individual. It will be argued that the EU can only introduce measures in this area of national law on the grounds of Article 352 TFEU, and even in this case it must comply with strict requirements, such as the existence of a genuine need to improve the goals in the Treaties, as well as a unanimous vote in the Council.

KEYWORDS: Nationality, EU competence, Micheletti, Rottmann, EU citizenship, Immigration

Daniel Sarmiento, Professor of EU Law, Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Former legal secretary at the Court of Justice.

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