Monthly Archives: July 2012

Special issue of Citizenship Studies published

The CITSEE team is pleased to announce the publication of a special issue of the journal “Citizenship Studies” dedicated to “Citizenship in the New States of Southeastern Europe”. It contains an introduction and seven comprehensive papers on the existing citizenship regimes across the former Yugoslavia. This special issue of Citizenship Studies comes out of the first phase of research conducted under the aegis of the CITSEE project, during which the research team concentrated on in-depth country case analyses with the aim of giving readers a better understanding of post-Yugoslav citizenship regimes, as seen in their wider political and societal context.

In their Introduction, Jo Shaw and Igor Štiks briefly present the CITSEE project, locating it within the broader frame of current trends in citizenship studies. They define the notion of citizenship regime as it is used in the following analyses, before highlighting some critical and common elements that emerge in the papers, including the ongoing processes of European integration and enlargement evident in the region.

Jelena Vasiljevic’s article Imagining and managing the nation: tracing citizenship policies in Serbia explores the most salient features of the reshaping of the state–territory–nation triangle in Serbia over the last 20 years, through the lenses of its citizenship regime. Her paper looks at the ways in which the dominant political narrative in Serbia has imagined political community and accordingly managed its members.

The article Understanding Montenegrin citizenship by Jelena Džankic maintains that although the citizenship regime of Montenegro was generated amidst domestic political competition, it has also been significantly affected by regional and international political forces. Applying Bellamy's concept of the lineages of citizenship to the case of Montenegro, it explains how citizenship polices were used to manage the fragile political milieu within this weak and unconsolidated post-Yugoslav state.

Gëzim Krasniqi’s article Overlapping jurisdictions, disputed territory, unsettled state: the perplexing case of citizenship in Kosovo examines the nascent citizenship regime in Kosovo since the country's declaration of independence in 2008. It argues that the defining characteristics of the Kosovan citizenship regime are: (1) adoption of the ‘new-state’ model (i.e. inclusion into its citizenship of all Kosovo residents); (2) tension between civic and multicultural conceptions of citizenship on the one side, and ethno-national conceptions on the other; and (3) its contested nature and overlapping jurisdictions.

The article Conceptualising citizenship regime(s) in post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina by Eldar Sarajlic examines the complex citizenship regime in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina, including its historical origin and social implications. It argues that the Bosnian citizenship regime, established in Dayton in 1995, actually implies existence of a plurality of regimes and conceptions of citizenship in this country, which frames political outcomes and affects the status of human rights.

Ljubica Spaskovska’s article The fractured ‘we’ and the ethno-national ‘I’: the Macedonian citizenship framework discusses some of the salient features of the post-2001 Macedonian citizenship model, understood not only as a legal formula, but also as a social and cultural fact. By using the analytical lens of two competing conceptions of nationhood and citizenship (political vs. ethno-cultural), the article analyses the phenomenon of ‘fractured citizenship’, as reflected in the apparent tension between an official, elite-driven discourse of the Macedonian model of multi-ethnic democracy on the one hand, and diverging ethno-culturally coded initiatives, ideologies and perceptions, on the other.

The article Framing the citizenship regime within the complex triadic nexuses: the case study of Croatia by Viktor Koska provides an analysis of the changes of the Croatian citizenship regime from its independence till today. It argues that over the last two decades, Croatia established a distinctive citizenship regime marked by stable citizenship legislation and changing boundaries of recognized rights for different categorizes of Croatian citizens. The stability of the status dimension of citizenship can be traced to the unchallenged primacy of the nationhood conceived as a transnational community of ethnic Croats.

Finally, Tomaž Deželan’s article In the name of the nation or/and Europe? Determinants of the Slovenian citizenship regime attempts to revise the somewhat distorted image of Slovenia as a ‘success story’ of the transition to modern liberal democracy by explaining how different political visions, and their clashes and coalitions over two decades of independent statehood, influenced the Slovenian citizenship regime, which is rife with undemocratic practices. Drawing on the ‘nationalizing state’ approach, the paper illuminates two dominant political agendas: the nationalizing state agenda and the Europeanizing state agenda. However, both agendas are frequently intertwined and provide legitimacy to political actors across the ideological spectrum depending on the circumstances.

The CITSEE team is very pleased to see the fruits of its work published and thus would like to thank all the researchers, anonymous reviewers and journal editors for their outstanding commitment and cooperation.

You can follow CITSEE's work via the website, the web magazine Citizenship in Southeast Europe, on twitter (@citseeteam) and on Facebook.

New CITSEE Working Papers Available

The CITSEE team is pleased to announce the publication of five new papers in its Working Paper Series on citizenship regimes in post-Yugoslav states.

In the working paper “EU citizenship and the edges of Europe”, Jo Shaw considers the prospects for EU citizenship in the current EU economic and political crisis. The paper contrasts the neglect of the concept of EU citizenship on the part of Member States, including their willingness to trample on many aspects of the free movement principle, with the interest in EU citizenship.

Marko Žilovic’s working paper “Citizenship, Ethnicity, and Territory: the Politics of Selecting by Origin in Post-Communist Southeast Europe” explains variations in preferential naturalisation regimes in post-communist Southeast Europe. The paper focuses on 12 different cases and argues that the politics of selecting by origin in post-communist Southeast Europe has been crucially shaped by differences (a) between old nation-states prone to act as external national homelands, newly emerging nationalizing states, and ethnically divided states; and (b) between the years of ‘thickened history’ in the early post-communist period and the later, politically calmer period after 2000.

The working paper “Europeanisation through mobility: visa liberalisation and citizenship regimes in the Western Balkans” by Simonida Kacarska, on the other hand, examines the implications of the visa liberalisation dialogues which took place between the European Commission and the national governments of the Western Balkans for the citizenship regimes of the countries concerned. Looking both at the formal benchmarking process and through interviews with stakeholders at the national level, the paper traces how the visa liberalisation process affected the status and rights dimension of citizenship in the region.

In the working paper “Territoriality and Citizenship: Membership and Sub-State Polities in Post-Yugoslav Space”, Dejan Stjepanovic deals with the issue of sub-state citizenship in the post-Yugoslav countries and focuses on the emergence and definitions of membership in sub-state polities. The paper analyses conceptions of nationhood and territorial compositions of these states, proceeds with the analysis of sub-state entities’ governance arrangements as a part of the states’ citizenship regimes and compares conceptions of nationhood and membership in state-wide and sub-state polities. The paper identifies four broad categories of sub-state polities and two diverging tendencies in the definition of membership in those.

Finally, Nataša Pantic’s paper, “Citizenship and Education Policies in the post-Yugoslav States” explores interactions between citizenship and education policies in six post-Yugoslav contexts, focusing on group and individual education rights, ethnocentric, multicultural and civic elements of citizenship in education policies, and the extent to which they encourage inclusive or exclusive concepts of citizenship. These interactions are explored by looking at education system structures, language and curricula policies. Universal and consociation education systems are distinguished, with the ethnocentric and exclusive citizenship concepts reflected in the context-dependent status of different minorities, and in the uses of education to perpetuate dominant ethnic groups at different levels. In addition, inclusive elements are highlighted in relation to the improving status of the Roma minority in education.

This brings the number of working papers produced so far by CITSEE researchers and associated scholars to 23, and shows our increased focus on thematic and comparative studies.

You can follow CITSEE’s work via the website, the web magazine Citizenship in South East Europe, on twitter (@citseeteam) and on Facebook.


New ECHR ruling on the case of the Erased in Slovenia

Kuric and others v. Slovenia, Application no. 26828/06 (GRAND CHAMBER)

(Prepared by Anja Lansbergen for the European Union Democracy Observatory on Citizenship)


Prior to 25 June 1991 – the day on which Slovenia declared independence from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (“SFRY”) – the applicants were citizens of both SFRY and one of its constituent republics other than Slovenia. They had acquired permanent resident status in Slovenia as SFRY citizens.

On 26 February 1992 the applicants became subject to the Aliens Act (Zakon o tujcih). As they had not applied for Slovenian citizenship within the required timeframe, their names were on this date deleted from the Register of Permanent Residents of Slovenia (Register stalnega prebivalstva).

The applicants claimed under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights that they had been arbitrarily deprived of the possibility of acquiring citizenship of the newly-established Slovenian State in 1991 and/or of preserving their status as permanent residents. They requested that permanent residence status be awarded to them retroactively, on the basis of the Constitutional Court's decision of 3 April 2003, and claimed awards for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as reimbursement of costs and expenses incurred in the proceedings.

On 13 July 2010 the Third Section of the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the erasure of the applicants’ names from the Register of Permanent Residents was in breach of Article 8 of the Convention (Kuric and others v. Slovenia, Application no. 26828/06). The Court considered the totality of social ties between settled migrants and the community in which they are living constitute part of the concept of private life within the meaning of Article 8. Regardless of the existence or otherwise of a family life, the expulsion of a settled migrant thus constitutes interference with his or her right to respect for private life. This interference could not be justified as being “in accordance with the law” under paragraph 2 of Article 8 in light of the Slovenian Constitutional Court’s decision of 3 April 2003 that had declared the impugned measure to be unlawful. The Court required the Government of Slovenia to secure for the applicants the right to a private and/or family life and effective remedies in that respect, and invited the Government and the applicant to submit written observations on the financial award to be made to the applicants for any pecuniary or non-pecuniary damage resulting from the violations found.

On 13 October 2010 the Slovenian Government requested that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber.


Upholding the decision of the Third Section, the Grand Chamber ruled on 26 June 2012 that the erasure of the applicants’ names from the Register of Permanent Residents of Slovenia was in violation of Article 8 of the Convention.
In submissions made to the Grand Chamber, the Slovenian Government had not contested that the impugned measure constituted an infringement of the right under Article 8, and the Grand Chamber therefore found no reason to depart from the findings of the Third Section in this regard. The Grand Chamber thus turned to consider whether such infringement could be justified under the provisions of paragraph 2 of Article 8. [§§339 – 340]

The Grand Chamber held that, having regard to the questionable foreseeability of the measure and in light of the Constitutional Court decisions of February 1999 and April 2003, the interference with the applicants’ Article 8 rights was not “in accordance with the law”. Despite the measure pursuing a legitimate objective (of creating a “corpus of Slovenian citizens” and thus to protecting the interests of the country’s national security), the regularisation of the residence status of former SFRY citizens was necessary in order to ensure that failure to obtain Slovenian citizenship would not disproportionately affect the Article 8 rights of the “erased”. The absence of State regulation to this effect and the prolonged impossibility of obtaining valid residence permits upset the fair balance which should have been struck between the legitimate aim of the protection of national security and effective respect for the applicants’ right to private or family life or both. For these reasons, the measures complained of were neither “prescribed by law” nor “necessary in a democratic society” to achieve the legitimate aim of the protection of national security, and consequently the impugned measure constituted a violation of Article 8. [§§341 – 362]

The Grand Chamber further concluded that the Slovenian Government’s failure to establish adequate and effective remedies in order to redress the alleged violation of Article 8 constitutes a violation of Article 13 of the Convention on the right to an effective remedy. [§§369 – 372]

In contrast to the decision of the Third Section, the Grand Chamber considered it necessary to rule on the issue of compliance with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 8. [§383] The Grand Chamber found that the effect of the “erasure” was that aliens could keep their residence permits, whereas citizens of the former federal State of which Slovenia was a constituent part were deprived of them. There was therefore a difference in treatment between two groups – “real” aliens and citizens of former SFRY Republics other than Slovenia – which were in a similar situation in respect of residence-related matters. [§§391 – 392]. This difference in treatment did not pursue a legitimate aim and therefore lacked an objective and reasonable justification [§394], and as such was in violation of Article 14.

The Grand Chamber required the Government of Slovenia to set up an ad hoc domestic compensation scheme within one year of the delivery of the judgment to compensate other potentially effected persons. [§§406 – 415] The Government was further obliged to pay non-pecuniary damages of €20,000 to each applicant, and €30,000 to the applicants jointly in respect of costs. The applicants’ claims for non-pecuniary damages were dismissed. [§§424 – 428]