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Giving Europeans a sense of European (rather than national) citizenship and using economic muscle to bear against Capital Punishment are twin benefits - both in demonstrating to the world that there is a new major player on the diplomatic scene, but also in fostering a new sense of collective citizenship within the EU: a 'Civis Romanus Sum' for the 21st century.

I'm all for Civis Europaeus Sum, but I wouldn't like the EU to claim extraterritoriality just like I already dislike the US when it acts extraterritorially. In fact, the EU should be pushing for universal jurisdiction instead of bowing to US pressure to eliminate it from the EU national legislations where it was contemplated. The original meaning of the phrase you quote was an assertion of civil rights vis-a-vis the Roman Imperium, not a claim that the Imperium made its citizens above others' laws (though it may well have).

A phrase repeated with pride by many important Roman figures, it was put forward in order to assert the privileges granted to Roman citizens. Even prisoners were allowed to take advantage of that prerogative, and subsequently they were granted favorable treatment. Paul of Tarsus, under trial and appealing to the Emperor, claimed his right as a citizen to be tried in Rome, and the judicial process was suspended until he, in chains and escorted by guards, was carried to the capital city
Of course, you could trust the British Empire to turn civil rights into extraterritoriality:
The locution was quoted by Lord Palmerston who claimed on June 25, 1850 that every British citizen in the world should be protected by the British Empire like a Roman citizen abroad by the Roman Empire.


En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 29th, 2009 at 06:30:16 PM EST

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