European citizenship offers great potential for the protection of fundamental rights. Due to the relation between EU citizenship and EU fundamental rights, the Court's seeming willingness in Ruiz Zambrano to protect the substance of EU citizenship rights could potentially have an immense impact on the EU fundamental rights architecture. However, considering the Dereçi case, it is questionable if the Court takes EU citizenship rights seriously. Instead of contributing to the safeguarding of fundamental rights, the Dereçi approach will have worrisome effects for the protection of fundamental rights in the EU.
This article examines the relation between EU citizenship and EU fundamental rights and argues that if the Court is truly willing to protect the substance of EU citizenship rights, it has to overturn its decision in Dereçi and to include fundamental rights in the doctrine established by Ruiz Zambrano. After it has been outlined why such an approach would, in contrast to the Court's argument in Dereçi, be completely in line with Ruiz Zambrano, the potential effects of such an approach will be presented.Legal Issues of Economic Integration