EU citizenship rights

23-03-2017

According to Article 20(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), every person holding the nationality of a Member State is a Union citizen. Union citizenship is additional to national citizenship and does not replace it. The concept of Union citizenship was introduced in the Treaty on European Union, signed in Maastricht in 1992, which endowed Union citizens with a number of novel rights, including political rights. Union citizens enjoy the right to move and reside freely in other Member States, to vote and to stand as candidates in municipal and European elections, to petition the Parliament, to apply to the European Ombudsman, and to enjoy in a third country the protection of the diplomatic and consular authorities of any other Member State. The Lisbon Treaty, signed in 2007, granted Union citizens another novel right – the right to start a Citizens' Initiative. It is estimated that about 15 million Union citizens live in a Member State other than that of their nationality. The rights related to free movement and residence are governed by a central piece of legislation (Directive 2004/38), which covers most aspects of the freedom of movement of persons. It enables Union citizens to travel, (seek) work, study or retire in another Member State – and to enjoy equal treatment while doing so. Yet, EU Treaties and secondary law make clear that the rights granted to Union citizens are not absolute but subject to conditions and limitations.

According to Article 20(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), every person holding the nationality of a Member State is a Union citizen. Union citizenship is additional to national citizenship and does not replace it. The concept of Union citizenship was introduced in the Treaty on European Union, signed in Maastricht in 1992, which endowed Union citizens with a number of novel rights, including political rights. Union citizens enjoy the right to move and reside freely in other Member States, to vote and to stand as candidates in municipal and European elections, to petition the Parliament, to apply to the European Ombudsman, and to enjoy in a third country the protection of the diplomatic and consular authorities of any other Member State. The Lisbon Treaty, signed in 2007, granted Union citizens another novel right – the right to start a Citizens' Initiative. It is estimated that about 15 million Union citizens live in a Member State other than that of their nationality. The rights related to free movement and residence are governed by a central piece of legislation (Directive 2004/38), which covers most aspects of the freedom of movement of persons. It enables Union citizens to travel, (seek) work, study or retire in another Member State – and to enjoy equal treatment while doing so. Yet, EU Treaties and secondary law make clear that the rights granted to Union citizens are not absolute but subject to conditions and limitations.