The Human Capital of Scandinavia?: Citizenship Dilemmas in the Cross-Border Øresund Region
The Øresund Region of Eastern Denmark and Southern Sweden is an ambitious cross-border integration project, aiming to make the region “The Human Capital of Scandinavia”. Integration has deepened to include cross-border social rights, with regional proponents heralding the emergence of “Øresund citizens”. Yet the two welfare states, despite their common attributes, have developed dissimilar attitudes towards the rise of a multicultural society in recent years, establishing divergent national citizenship policies in response. This thesis uses the Øresund region as a critical case study, which contributes to wider European debates about the tension between regional freedom of movement and national determination over citizenship. To explore this regional integration — national citizenship nexus, this thesis asks; to what extent do divergent national citizenship models inhibit deeper cross-border integration and prospects for regional citizenship? Drawing on a range of primary and secondary information sources, including interviews with regional political actors, this thesis reveals how divergent national citizenship policies rouse political debate about belonging and entitlement of foreigners in the cross-border region. Discordant national citizenship policies have reinforced organisation and conceptual borders along national lines, revealing that the cultural proximity of these Nordic neighbours is no guarantee of seamless cross-border movement and integration. This thesis demonstrates that citizenship policies not only have a domestic impact but can also become a point of tension between member states, with implications for regional integration and citizenship.