Working Paper

Migration and Citizenship in Europe – Does ‘Illiberalism’ Matter? Eurowhiteness Solidarity from the EU and Hungary to the UK

Published 26 February 2024 / By Elena Basheska & Dimitry V. Kochenov

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In this paper, we bridge the liberalism/illiberalism divide, using the EU, Hungary and the UK as case studies to demonstrate what many migration and citizenship scholars suspected all along: the spheres of citizenship and migration emerge in contemporary Europe as areas with the liberalism-illiberalism divide, where almost absolute de facto solidarity across the political spectrum and levels of governance prevails. We call this solidarity, following Kundnani, ‘Eurowhiteness solidarity’. It consists in attacking migration, primarily non-white migration, via legal and illegal means and reinforcing the absolute nature of state sovereignty over citizenship, be it concerning ethno-nationalist blood ties as a ground of acquisition of the status or the growing rates of denaturalisation. Citizenship and migration are thus the issues so charged that neither the imperatives of national, European and international law nor political change make a difference. The death toll of mass violence seemingly placed outside the realm of law and politics is rising steeply, with dozens of thousands drowned since the continent-wide policy change and thousands more to die soon. This solidarity materialised as a strong continent-wide preference, which brought about criminal results and is not at all problematised since the countless dead and those denaturalised are ‘not like us’. Most importantly, this consensus showcases a new unforeseen function of the EU as a body, adding the necessary complexity to water down accountability to facilitate migration policies in breach of national and international law by the Member states, liberal and illiberal alike.


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