November 5, 2008
Dr. Ebru Oğurlu
RECONSTRUCTION OF CITIZENSHIP IN HUNGARY, POLAND AND THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN THE CONTEXT OF THE EU MEMBERSHIP
Especially since the beginning of the 1990s citizenship has become a topic of utmost importance in contemporary European politics. After the regime changes in the Eastern part of the continent and the dramatic political, economic and social changes therein, the issue has become among the top of the political agendas of the Central and Eastern European Countries. Their European Union (EU) membership and the deepening and widening processes within the EU have unavoidably forced them to redefine and restructure their citizenship policies. In the post-communist era, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic have theoretically accepted civic citizenship understanding with its all-embracing and inclusive connotations. Accordingly, they have fulfilled the legal and political requirements of citizenship on paper through the constitutions and citizenship laws they enacted in the new era. Nevertheless, the citizenship practices have remained far behind the rights and the legal instruments that were provided on paper and the status of citizenship does not guarantee the social integration within the society. In other words, as the historically dominant understanding, ethnic citizenship has still been the main principle behind the citizenship practices of all three countries. In this framework, their most serious problem has emerged as the discrepancy between the definitions and practices of their citizenship perceptions.