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This article explores parallels between the ‘shunning’ and ‘seeking’ of membership of the EU in the context of Brexit and stalled enlargement in south-east Europe, via a focus on the partial, fragmentary and contested governance of citizenship. The case studies place Union citizenship into a wider political and socio-economic context, demonstrating its central importance as an enabler of personal freedom. At the same time, they highlight how the denial or removal of Union citizenship can engender individual strategies to recover lost or denied benefits. From the analysis, parallels emerge between Union citizenship and national citizenship; both offer a promise of equality, but a reality of differentiation and inequality. At the same time, by delving deep into the case studies, it proves possible to illuminate the complex and often ‘messy’ constitutional edifice of the European Union, involving sometimes contradictory processes of Europeanisation and de-Europeanisation affecting citizenship regimes at all levels.
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