Citizenship and Constitutionalism in the European Union – what role for political rights? Introduction to the inaugural lecture to be given by Jo Shaw on 31 October 2006 As part of the series of MacCormick Lectures 2006 looking at the question ‘Does the European Union have a Constitutional Future?’, this lecture will look at the place of European citizens in that possible European constitutional future. It is very hard to say what European citizens are, since most people identify first and foremost with those persons associated with their locality, their city, their region, or their state, or with some other social or political group (e.g. those sharing the same disability or those who support the same political ideology). However, citizens of the European Union do have some rights and obligations under European Union law, and in particular they have some political rights, to participate in certain elections. I shall look in detail at the emergence of these political rights, and at what they might mean in practice, now and in the future. Two specific questions are examined in detail: What does it mean for European citizens to be able to vote in elections for the European Parliament? Can we use the political rights of citizens to improve these elections and make them more effective? and Can we foresee a time when all European citizens will be able to vote in the national elections in the Member State in which they reside, regardless of whether they have the national citizenship of that state?