Disentangling the "Union citizenship Puzzle"? The McCarthy Case

A. Wiesbrock*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Few cases have stirred as much controversy in recent months as Ruiz Zambrano and McCarthy, dealing with the right of residence and associated rights of a third-country national family member of a Union citizen who has never left his Member State of nationality. The apparent similarities but different outcomes of the two cases raise numerous questions regarding the scope and limits of the concept of EU citizenship. This article argues that the judgment in McCarthy does not limit the Ruiz Zambrano reasoning quite as much as appears at first sight. The ruling confirms rather than undermines a general change of approach towards citizenship rights and extends the range of situations that can be considered as "non-internal". The main deficiency of the judgment is its lack in clarity and predictability McCarthy leaves Union citizens in an unsatisfactory situation, where it is increasingly difficult to establish when one's "substantial" rights as a Union citizen are protected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-873
JournalEuropean Law Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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