The political rights of Europe's citizens: The first twenty years

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The author examines in-depth the general evolution and the legal issues related to the political rights of European citizens. The first part of this paper, on recognition of political rights, deals with the origins and the evolution of these rights. It begins with the precedents in the pre-Maastricht EC law and the first political rights for European citizens in the Maastricht Treaty, and after that it tells the story of the successive enlargements of political rights from the Treaty of Amsterdam to the Lisbon Treaty, including the impact of the Charter of fundamental rights, with references to the relevant legislation, case law and practice. In the second part, on the rights conferred, there is a discussion of the main legal questions related with political rights after the Lisbon Treaty, following a classification between the rights associated with representative democracy (electoral rights and membership of political parties, where the Lisbon Treaty throws a new light on preexisting provisions) and political rights in the context of participatory democracy, with provisions that have its roots in the past, but at the same time develop new forms of expression of political will and mark the beginning of citizens' initiative for legislation. The conclusions are devoted to some general questions. © 2013 ERA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-567
JournalERA Forum
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


  • Aruba
  • Citizens' initiative
  • Civil society
  • Consultation of concerned parties
  • Court of justice of the European Union
  • European citizenship
  • European Commission
  • European elections
  • European Parliament
  • Expression of citizen's views
  • Gibraltar
  • Local elections
  • Membership of political parties
  • Participatory democracy
  • Political rights of European citizens
  • Representative organizations


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