Union citizenship and language rights

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The concept of Union citizenship, officially introduced into European Community law in the Treaty of Maastricht, has evolved with breathtaking speed, transforming itself into an important instrument for the reconceptualization of the European Community legal order. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment in <i>Bickel and Franz </i>(1998) touched on language rights. As the concept of citizenship came to be qualified as what the <i>Grzelzcyk </i>judgment (2001) called the “fundamental status of nationals of the Member States”, it seemed only a matter of time before the principle of linguistic diversity would be further buttressed by the concept of Union citizenship. Although in the <i>Kik </i>case the Court of First Instance (2001) and the ECJ (2003) did not take up this challenge, it seems very likely that the concept of Union citizenship will prove highly relevant to the protection of linguistic diversity within the European Union in the future.


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