Book Access: Migration, Security, and European Citizenship by Elspeth Guild

Intersections by JISJ
4 min readMay 1, 2022

by Eleonora Aiello

First published in 2014, Migration, Security, and European Citizenship is an article by Elspeth Guild included in The Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies.

The article focuses on two main issues. Firstly, what European citizenship is, from the legal and sociological perspectives, in a context such as the European Union (EU) which is not a state — it is in fact an international organization, despite having over 500 million citizens, a quasi-constitution, a bill of rights and other characteristics that define a state. Secondly, what the Member States of the EU want from European citizenship, especially considering the ways it relates to the various national citizenships that their citizens hold.

Some of the issues that may emerge from the existence of European citizenship as it is now, and which are explored by Guild in the text are the following:

●European citizenship vs Member State citizenship — The conflicts that might emerge between European citizenship and the national citizenships held by the citizens of EU Member States due to state power;

●The rights and obligations of states and legal bodies of the EU over their citizens — How the specific rights of European citizens interact with the obligations that the Member States have towards them as a consequence, and what political problems the possible interactions can cause;

● The Member States and legal bodies of the EU’s power and control — Member States can fear a loss of power over their citizens via European citizenship rights, or the powers held by the EU and the European Human Rights Court.

Migration, Security, and European Citizenship comes with a lot of nuances and complexities and, as Guild herself admitted, the answers that the text provides to the two initial questions are multiple. Even so, providing mixed answers to complex questions is the case for many other texts in the field of EU law, which is also ever-changing and can be contradictory.

Despite the multiplicity of answers, there are two main concepts that emerge from the article. On the one hand, the Member States do not want European citizenship to affect the relationship that their national citizens have with them:

“What the member states want from European citizenship is a form of identity which does not seduce their citizens away from them” (Guild, 2014)

On the other hand, and because the Member States fear their citizens could start to slide away from them, they deliver rights deriving from national citizenship but often not the ones deriving from European citizenship. The consequence is that individuals who hold EU citizens status have, and will continue to have their rights as EU citizens respected only partially or not at all:

“As some member state authorities insist on delivering national citizenship rights and are reluctant to apply at least some EU citizenship rights, the possibility for people to enjoy rights as EU citizens will be fragmented and, for some, illusory”. (Guild, 2014)

Therefore, Migration, Security, and European Citizenship serves as an effective summary, from a socio-legal perspective, of some key issues around EU citizenship.

Elspeth Guild is a professor of Law at Queen Mary University of London, Radboud University Nijmegen, and College of Europe in Bruges, who is specialized in EU law and is the author and contributor of multiple academic publications, including ‘Immigration and criminal law in the European Union’ (2001). Professor Guilds is a partner at the firm Kingsley Napley, provides regular advice to the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe, and other European and international organizations (such as the UNHCR) on the free movement of persons, migration, and asylum. She is also co-chair of the European Sub Committee, Immigration Law Practitioners Association, the UK legal profession’s voice on immigration and asylum matters.


Guild, E. (2014). Migration, Security, and European Citizenship. Routledge handbook of global citizenship studies, 418–426.

Eleonora Aiello is a current Master’s student at King’s College London studying MA Education, Policy Society. She has a completed undergraduate degree from Università degli Studi di Milano in International Studies & European Institutions. Her current work involves working with children & young people with disabilities in secondary education.

Originally published at on May 1, 2022.