Identidade, cidadania, alteridade Portugal ainda entre a Europa e o Atlântico
Title: Identidade, cidadania, alteridade Portugal ainda entre a Europa e o Atlântico
Author: JERÓNIMO, Patrícia
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2008
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Law
Portugal is a very good illustration of the current identity quests that are pursued by communities of all shapes and sizes – local, national, supranational, international, civilizational – in response to old urges and new threats posed in a globalised, but also “glocalised”, world. Torn between its European body and its atlantic/lusophone “soul”, Portugal tries to strike a balance between the two dimensions of its identity as a polity and, in the process, claims a special role as mediator between north and south, Europe and the African continent. Although fully committed to the European immigration policy, with its restrictive dimensions and its focus on integration, Portugal purports to articulate the European demands with the special solidarity bonds that exist with the Portuguese speaking countries. It has been so for a number of years, but the recent developments in both the Portuguese nationality and immigration laws show that the fears expressed by many that Schengen would surpass the lusophone ties were well founded and that, no matter how well intended the Portuguese policies are in these matters, the result will be detrimental to the so-called lusophone citizens. They do enjoy a special status – encompassing voting rights and access to public office that is generally forbidden to all foreigners (a status unparalleled in the two other European countries under scrutiny, France and the United Kingdom) – but their access to the Portuguese territory has been curtailed. Even more than Portugal, which until recently was the last of the European “nation states” and only now faces visible cultural diversity in its society, the European Union and the Community of the Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) struggle with the definition of their respective identities and sense of purpose, seeking to win the hearts and minds of their peoples. Commonly considered a natural spontaneous community, due to the existence of a common language, the CPLP faces the difficulties posed by mutual distrust and old grudges and the fear, by many, that it is only an expression of imperial nostalgia on the part of Portugal. Its member states show only a mild commitment, engaged as they all are in other regional communities of their own, as can be seen in the discussions on citizenship and free movement within the lusophone area. There are many similarities between the legal systems of the CPLP member states, which can be explained by the cooperation between lawyers and academics specially in Africa and East Timor, but some of those similarities are merely formal, with little correspondence in the law in action, and coexist with relevant differences due mostly to different levels of socio-economic development and political will. For the European Union the purpose of fostering a feeling of belonging and solidarity between the peoples of Europe is an ongoing struggle for legitimacy which has suffered major setbacks in recent years. After the constitutional momentum, the Union has adopted a more modest stance, but has by no means given up winning the support of the European citizens. One of the fields in which its intervention is demanded is directly linked with the identity quest in progress – border definition and control, policies towards illegal and legal aliens. Stressing the need to integrate the third country nationals who are legal residents and adopting the mantra of intercultural dialogue, the EU presents itself as a guardian for human rights and a fighter against racism, at the same time as it tries to keep Europe for the Europeans as much as possible. Its member states are willing, for European or domestic reasons, to go along and easily drop old preferences for extra-community bonds of solidarity. Portugal may again be the last of the empires, keeping a special status for the foreigners of lusophone origin, but it nevertheless keeps with the times when it comes to admission to its territory.
LC Subject Heading: Citizenship -- Portugal; European Union countries -- Politics and government; Portugal -- Politics and government; Portugal -- Emigration and immigration; Europe -- Relations -- Portugal
Defence date: 21 November 2008; Examining Board: Prof. Doutor Jacques Ziller, Instituto Universitário Europeu; Prof. Doutor Pedro Bacelar Vasconcelos, Universidade do Minho; Prof. Doutor Rui Moura Ramos, Universidade de Coimbra; Prof. Doutor Francesco Francioni, Instituto Universitário Europeu.; First made available online 14 January 2015.
Type of Access: openAccess
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