Book Review: Citizenship, Nationality and Access to Public Service Employment – The Impact of European Community Law

Publication Date01 December 2001
AuthorA.P. van der Mei
SubjectBook Review
Book Reviews
8 MJ 4 (2001) 423
Nanda Beenen, Citizenship, Nationality and Access to Public Service
Employment – The Impact of European Community Law, European Law
Publishing, 2001, xiv + 298 pages, hardback, NLG 160.
The prohibition of discrimination on grounds of nationality constitutes the very
foundation of European Community law. The common market could never have been
realized, and could never operate effectively, if Member States were free to exclude
nationals of other Member States from their territory and labour markets. The concept
of a common European citizenship could never have been introduced, and would not
have developed any further, if Community citizens could be discriminated against by
reason of their nationality. From the perspective of Community law, nationality require-
ments are ‘suspect’ and the basic assumption is that such requirements cannot be validly
applied. Yet, as broad as the Community’s objectives may be, they are limited. The
Community is not a State, it is not expected to be transformed into one and European
Union citizenship is not intended to replace Member State nationality. The Community
consists of a number of nation States which have, or are based on, a special bond with
their own nationals. Community law does not seek to abolish all discrimination against
nationals of other Member States. The EC Treaty leaves room for such discrimination
where non-nationals’ behaviour constitutes a threat to public policy, public security or
public health (Article 39(3) EC) and as regards access to employment in the public
service (Article 39(4) EC).
In her thesis Nanda Beenen describes and analyses this public service exception. The
main objectives of the book are to discover how the European Court of Justice has
interpreted this exception and how the Court’s interpretation has influenced Member
States’ legislation. The book consist of two parts. The first contains a general
description of the Community’s rules on free movement of persons (Chapter 2) and the
notion of European citizenship (Chapter 3), and a more detailed analysis of the Court’s
case law on Article 39(4) EC. The second part is devoted to national legislation and
case law. Chapter 6 contains a ‘General Study’ in which the author considers how the
public service is interpreted by national legislators and courts, and the extent to which
the European case law has influenced the interpretation of the public service exception
at national level. Chapters 7 to 9 take a closer look at three specific Member States
which the author has selected for examination: the Netherlands, Belgium and the United
Kingdom. The final chapter consists of a summary and conclusions.
Beenen’s book contains a detailed and thorough analysis of the relevant case law and
legislation. Practitioners, academics, students and others interested in the precise
contours of the public service exception, will find all relevant information in the book.
The book, however, is not wholly free from criticism. The problems that I have with the
book do not so much concern its concrete substance, but rather some of the choices that
the author has made with respect to the definition of her research. The public service
exception, and the case law of the Court of Justice, have already been described and
analysed extensively in the literature. The basic principles of the Court’s case law

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