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International Some intergovernmental organizations have extended the concept and terminology associated with citizenship to the international level,<ref>Daniele Archibugi, "The Global Commonwealth of Citizens. Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy", Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2008</ref> where it is applied to the totality of the citizens of their constituent countries combined. Citizenship at this level is a secondary concept, with rights deriving from national citizenship.

European Union

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The Maastricht Treaty introduced the concept of citizenship of the European Union. Article 17 (1) of the Treaty on European Union<ref>Note: the consolidated version.</ref> stated that:
Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship.<ref name="Rome">Consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union</ref>

An agreement known as the amended EC Treaty<ref name="Rome" /> established certain minimal rights for European Union citizens. Article 12 of the amended EC Treaty guaranteed a general right of non-discrimination within the scope of the Treaty. Article 18 provided a limited right to free movement and residence in Member States other than that of which the European Union citizen is a national. Articles 18-21 and 225 provide certain political rights.

Union citizens have also extensive rights to move in order to exercise economic activity in any of the Member States<ref>Note: Articles 39, 43, 49 EC.</ref> which predate the introduction of Union citizenship.<ref>Violaine Hacker, « Citoyenneté culturelle et politique européenne des médias : entre compétitivité et promotion des valeurs », NATIONS, CULTURES ET ENTREPRISES EN EUROPE, sous la direction de Gilles Rouet, Collection Local et Global, L'Harmattan, Paris, pp. 163-184</ref>

Commonwealth

The concept of "Commonwealth Citizenship" has been in place ever since the establishment of the Commonwealth of Nations. As with the EU, one holds Commonwealth citizenship only by being a citizen of a Commonwealth member state. This form of citizenship offers certain privileges within some Commonwealth countries:

  • Some such countries do not require tourist visas of citizens of other Commonwealth countries.
  • In some Commonwealth countries resident citizens of other Commonwealth countries are entitled to political rights, e.g., the right to vote in local and national elections and in some cases even the right to stand for election.
  • In some instances the right to work in any position (including the civil service) is granted, except for certain specific positions, such as in the defense departments, Governor-General or President or Prime Minister.

Although Ireland was excluded from the Commonwealth in 1949 because it declared itself a republic, Ireland is generally treated as if it were still a member. Legislation often specifically provides for equal treatment between Commonwealth countries and Ireland and refers to "Commonwealth countries and Ireland".<ref>The Commonwealth Countries and Ireland (Immunities and Privileges) (Amendment) Order 2005</ref> Ireland's citizens are not classified as foreign nationals in the United Kingdom.

Canada departed from the principle of nationality being defined in terms of allegiance in 1921. In 1935 the Irish Free State was the first to introduce its own citizenship. However, Irish citizens were still treated as subjects of the Crown, and they are still not regarded as foreign, even though Ireland is not a member of the Commonwealth.<ref>Murray v Parkes [1942] All ER 123.</ref> The Canadian Citizenship Act of 1947 provided for a distinct Canadian Citizenship, automatically conferred upon most individuals born in Canada, with some exceptions, and defined the conditions under which one could become a naturalized citizen. The concept of Commonwealth citizenship was introduced in 1948 in the British Nationality Act 1948. Other dominions adopted this principle such as New Zealand, by way of the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act of 1948.


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