This special issue of JEMS deals with the challenges of migration for citizenship attribution in Western Europe. In this introductory paper we analyse recent developments in citizenship attribution across Western Europe over the past 25 years. Despite the contradictory impact of the instrumentalisation and politicisation of citizenship policies, and the fact that countries have different citizenship traditions and migration experiences, we observe six broad trends. These relate to the descent-based transmission of citizenship by women, men and emigrants; ius soli provisions for second- and third-generation immigrants; the acceptance of multiple citizenship; the introduction of language and integration requirements for naturalisation; the avoidance of statelessness; and the increasing relevance of EU membership. We describe the background and core features of each of these six trends and provide empirical examples from citizenship policies in 18 West European countries since the early 1980s.
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