REPORT on the EU Citizenship Report 2020: empowering citizens and protecting their rights

3.2.2022 - (2021/2099(INI))

Committee on Petitions
Rapporteur: Yana Toom

Procedure : 2021/2099(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


on the EU Citizenship Report 2020: empowering citizens and protecting their rights


The European Parliament,

 having regard to Articles 2, 6 and 9-12 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and to Articles 18-25 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

 having regard to Article 21 and Articles 39-46 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter),

 having regard to the right to petition the European Parliament, which is enshrined in Articles 24(2) and 227 TFEU and in Article 44 of the Charter,

 having regard to Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States[1] (the Freedom of Movement Directive),

 having regard to Council Directive 94/80/EC of 19 December 1994 laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections by citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals[2], and to Council Directive 93/109/EC of 6 December 1993 laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament for citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals[3],

 having regard to Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing a Community Code on Visas (Visa Code)[4],

 having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27  November  2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility[5],

 having regard to Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents[6],

 having regard to the Commission report of 15 December 2020 entitled ‘EU Citizenship Report 2020: Empowering citizens and protecting their rights’ (COM(2020)0730),

 having regard to the Commission report of 15 December 2020 under Article 25 TFEU entitled ‘On progress towards effective EU citizenship 2016-2020’ (COM(2020)0731),

 having regard to the results of the Commission’s 2020 public consultation on EU citizenship rights, and to the results of the Flash Eurobarometer 485 survey on European Union Citizenship and Democracy published in July 2020, which show that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many EU citizens have encountered difficulties in accessing healthcare support, childcare support, information about border restrictions, etc.,

 having regard to its resolution of 12 December 2017 entitled ‘The EU Citizenship Report 2017: Strengthening Citizens’ Rights in a Union of Democratic Change’[7],

 having regard to its resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of the Treaty provisions related to EU citizenship[8],

 having regard to the Commission report of 17 June 2020 on the impact of demographic change,

 having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

 having regard to Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2016 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies[9],

 having regard to the Commission’s 2021-2030 strategy for the rights of persons with disabilities,

 having regard to Green Paper on ageing of 27 January 2021 entitled ‘Fostering solidarity and responsibility between generations’ (COM(2021)0050),

 having regard to European Economic and Social Committee information report of 20 March 2019 on the real rights of persons with disabilities to vote in European Parliament elections,

 having regard to its resolutions of 24 November 2020 on the Schengen system and measures taken during the COVID-19 crisis[10] and of 17 September 2020 entitled ‘COVID-19: EU coordination of health assessments and risk classification, and the consequences for Schengen and the single market’[11],

 having regard to its resolution of 19 June 2020 on European protection of cross-border and seasonal workers in the context of the COVID-19 crisis[12],

 having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2020 on the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities and their families in the COVID-19 crisis[13],

 having regard to its resolution of 24 November 2020 on tackling homelessness rates in the EU[14],

 having regard to its resolutions of 17 December 2020 entitled ‘The European Citizens’ Initiative “Minority SafePack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe”’[15] and of 7 February 2018 on protection and non-discrimination with regard to minorities in the EU Member States[16],

 having regard to its resolution of 14 September 2021 on LGBTIQ rights in the EU[17],

 having regard to its resolution of 7 October 2021 entitled ‘The protection of persons with disabilities through petitions: lessons learnt’[18],

 having regard to its resolutions of 11 March 2021 entitled ‘The activities of the European Ombudsman – annual report 2019’[19] and of 16 January 2020 entitled ‘The activities of the European Ombudsman – annual report 2018’[20],

 having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2020 on the outcome of the Committee on Petitions’ deliberations during 2019[21],

 having regard to its resolution of 17 December 2021 on the deliberations of the Committee on Petitions in 2020[22],

 having regard to the draft report of Parliament’s Committee on Petitions (PETI) entitled ‘Engaging with citizens: the right to petition, the right to refer to the European Ombudsman and the European Citizens’ Initiative’,

 having regard to the PETI report on the annual report on the activities of the European Ombudsman in 2020 (A9-0342/2021),

 having regard to the public hearings on matters related to EU citizenship organised by PETI since 2018, notably the hearing of 26 May 2021 entitled ‘Inter-institutional relations in the treatment of petitions: the role of the Commission’; of 29 October 2020 entitled ‘Union citizenship: empowerment, inclusion, participation’, jointly held with the Committee on Legal Affairs, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE); of 1 February 2018 on ‘Citizens’ rights after Brexit’ jointly held with the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and LIBE; and of 21 February 2018 on the ‘European Citizens’ Initiative: assessing the Commission proposal for a new ECI regulation’ jointly held with the Committee on Constitutional Affairs,

 having regard to the public hearing of 15 October 2020 entitled ‘Minority SafePack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe’ organised by the Committee on Culture and Education and LIBE in association with PETI,

 having regard to the interparliamentary committee meeting of 27 November 2018 jointly organised by PETI and the Committee on Legal Affairs on ‘Empowering parliaments and enforcing citizens’ rights in the implementation and application of Union law’,

 having regard to the studies commissioned in 2019, 2020 and 2021 by its Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of PETI entitled ‘Strengthening the role and impact of petitions as an instrument of participatory democracy – Lessons learnt from a citizens’ perspective 10 years after the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty’ (29 October 2021), ‘Obstacles to the free movement of rainbow families in the EU’ (8 March 2021), ‘Obstacles to participation in local and European elections, inside the EU’ (15 September 2020) and ‘Achievements of the Committee on Petitions during the 2014-2019 parliamentary term and challenges for the future’(3 July 2019),

 having regard to the workshops on LGBTI+ rights in the EU and on the rights of persons with disabilities organised on 22 March 2021 and 28 October 2020 respectively by the Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs for PETI,–  having regard to the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community[23] (the Withdrawal Agreement),

 having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,

 having regard to the report of the Committee on Petitions (A9-0019/2022),

A. whereas EU citizenship is one of most tangible achievements of the EU and confers on EU citizens a set of fundamental rights, including free movement in the EU, the right to participate in EU democratic life and the right to be protected from discrimination, while ensuring equal opportunities;

B. whereas Brexit has highlighted the importance of EU citizenship rights and their crucial role in the everyday lives of millions of EU citizens, and has raised awareness in the EU about the potential loss of those rights and its consequences, as revealed by the large number of petitions submitted by EU citizens living in the UK and by UK citizens residing in an EU country on the consequences of Brexit on their status as EU citizens;

C. whereas the rule of law is one of the values that underpin the Union, and whereas its protection ensures respect for fundamental rights and democracy;

D. whereas freedom of movement, which allows any EU citizen to live, work or study and have access to healthcare in any Member State, is one of the foundations of the EU;

E. whereas active citizenship is better ensured if the fundamental needs of citizens are satisfied; whereas the protection provided by minimum wages is therefore of great importance and is a prerequisite for achieving the EU’s goal to leave no one behind;

F. whereas people facing precarious working and living conditions often feel marginalised and participate less or not at all in social life, civil society and elections;

G. whereas homeless people not only face precarious living conditions, but often have little or no access to information regarding their rights and the tools to defend them;

H. whereas the definitions of vulnerable, disadvantaged or under-represented groups vary widely between Member States and can even depend on the political and social situation in a Member State at a given moment;

I. whereas numerous cross-border and seasonal workers face difficult, unhealthy and unsafe working conditions, little or no job security and insufficient or no social security coverage and access to social benefits; whereas many cross-border and seasonal workers come from vulnerable social groups and regions; whereas the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the existing precarious situations of numerous cross-border and seasonal workers, creating gaps in the implementation of existing legislation for their protection;

J. whereas the COVID-19 outbreak has brought a number of unprecedented challenges to free movement across the EU, with many Member States imposing travel restrictions and internal border controls as emergency measures; whereas EU citizens have submitted a significant number of petitions raising serious concerns over the impact of national emergency measures on their freedom to travel, work and study abroad, and their ability to build and maintain cross-border family ties;

K. whereas the pandemic is having a particularly negative impact on the situation of persons with disabilities and the elderly, significantly limiting their ability to exercise their rights;

L. whereas PETI has received a considerable number of petitions raising concerns over the discrimination experienced by LGBTIQ persons in the EU, and rainbow families (i.e. families where at least one member is LGBTIQ) in particular, when exercising their freedom of movement in the EU, resulting in adverse consequences for the rights and interests of their children;

M. whereas Article 21 of the Charter explicitly prohibits ‘discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation’,  as the primary expression of EU citizenship; whereas it forms, at the same time, a crucial component of the successful exercise of the freedom of movement, as evidenced in the abovementioned petitions;

N. whereas around 50 million people belong to a national minority or a minority language community in the EU; whereas the Commission has taken no legislative steps in response to the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Minority SafePack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe’, despite the fact that it was supported by a large majority of MEPs;

O. whereas the granting and removal of citizenship remains a competence of the Member States;

P. whereas petitions have shown that mobile EU citizens and residents still face difficulties in exercising their electoral rights, owing to administrative burdens, bureaucracy and language barriers in some Member States, and misinformation or a lack of cooperation by some Member State authorities;

Q. whereas persons with disabilities still face legal, practical and physical barriers to effectively exercising their right to vote and to be elected and their right to access information on election regulations, procedures, programmes and debates in formats adapted to the needs of people with various types of disabilities, and thus continue to be under-represented in elections; whereas data on the electoral participation of under-represented groups remains limited;

R. whereas the right of EU citizens to participate in the democratic life of the EU goes beyond voting or standing as candidates in European elections; whereas the Treaties provide a number of participatory tools that aim to encourage citizens to directly engage with the EU, including the right to petition, the right to address the European Ombudsman and the right to submit a European Citizens’ Initiative;

S. whereas in some EU Member States, stateless persons with long-term residency status are not fully involved in democratic participation and, in particular, are deprived of the right to participate in municipal and/or European elections; whereas the Commission did not come up with the recommendation on approximating equality for stateless minorities, such as Roma: it was in fact proposed in the European Citizens’ Initiative ‘Minority SafePack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe’;

T. whereas the EU has to protect EU citizens residing in the UK, in line with the Withdrawal Agreement;

U. whereas elderly people are a committed group of citizens who make an important and valuable contribution to society by participating in voluntary activities, social initiatives, and supporting and caring for dependents;

V. whereas access to goods and services, including public services, increasingly requires digital skills;

W. whereas the digital transformation brings opportunities for and poses a threat to all generations, especially the elderly; whereas technological changes may have a negative impact on elderly people who do not have adequate knowledge, skills and access to digital technology; whereas elderly people are often victims of discrimination, violence, isolation and loneliness, exclusion and limitations on their autonomy, i.e. as a result of the introduction of digital solutions that do not take their needs into account;

1. Takes note of the Commission’s report entitled ‘EU Citizenship Report 2020 – Empowering citizens and protecting their rights’ and welcomes its continued commitment to uphold the rights of EU citizens, including through regular assessments of the opportunities for and barriers to exercising civil rights for people from disadvantaged groups, including persons with disabilities and the elderly; regrets the fact that only 2 out of the 18 actions proposed by the Commission are legislative in nature; stresses the need for a comprehensive assessment of the rights of EU citizens and for well-defined and concrete commitments, actions and legislative initiatives for the next three years; underlines the fact that the final objective of reporting on EU citizenship, following the Article 25 TFEU procedure, would be to take concrete initiatives aiming to consolidate citizen-specific rights and freedoms under an EU statute of citizenship, similar to the European Pillar of Social Rights, including the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter, the social rights set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights and the values established in Article 2 TEU as defining elements of the European ‘public space’, including, among others, the governance model relevant to that public space, dignity, freedom, the rule of law, democracy, pluralism, tolerance, justice, solidarity, equality and non-discrimination, which would be taken into account in a future reform of the Treaties;

2. Welcomes the Commission’s renewed focus on respect for the rule of law in the Member States;

3. Emphasises that an independent judiciary, access to justice, freedom of expression, freedom to access, receive and impart information, and media pluralism are crucial components of the rule of law; calls on the Commission to preserve these core EU values when they are infringed by Member States;

4. Points out that any instruments that interfere with the right to privacy and the protection of personal data must not only have a legal basis, but must also be necessary and proportionate, as required by the General Data Protection Regulation and the Charter;

5. Recalls that, while being at the core of the EU project, the freedom of movement has been severely affected by the unprecedented health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak and the related national emergency measures, including travel restrictions and temporary reintroductions of internal border controls; reiterates that these measures have had a significant negative impact on private lives, work, families and economic and social conditions, as evidenced in a large number of petitions; stresses that all national emergency measures should be proportionate to their initial aim of containing the COVID-19 outbreak; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to continue monitoring COVID-19 measures and their effect on EU citizenship rights; urges the Member States to phase out national emergency measures as soon as they are no longer necessary; underlines that the COVID-19 pandemic has a negative impact on the well-being and mental health of citizens, especially young people and the elderly;

6. Recalls that the withdrawal of the UK from the EU mostly affected EU citizens residing in the United Kingdom and UK nationals residing in one of the 27 EU Member States at the end of the transition period; calls on the Commission to closely monitor the correct implementation of Part Two of the Withdrawal Agreement on citizens’ rights in order to fully and effectively safeguard the rights of citizens who exercised their freedom of movement before the end of the transition period;

7. Is concerned by the many obstacles that rainbow families still face when they exercise their right to move to another Member State resulting from differences in national laws on the recognition of same-sex couples and of their parent-child relationships; urges the Commission and the Member States to implement the recommendations laid down in Parliament’s resolution on LGBTIQ rights in the EU, including its call for the Commission to examine whether all Member States comply with the Court of Justice judgment of 5 June 2018 in case C-673/16, Relu Adrian Coman and Others v Inspectoratul General pentru Imigrări and Ministerul Afacerilor Interne[24], and to include this judgment in the upcoming revision of the 2009 guidelines on free movement;

8. Regrets that the options for redress open to parents and children in the event of separation or divorce are not the same in each Member State, with the result that hundreds of parents in the EU have contacted the Committee on Petitions to support them in their cross-border family disputes and parental child abduction cases; calls on Commission and the Member States to introduce systems for monitoring cases concerning children involved in cross-border custody that are non-discriminatory and that fully respect the fundamental rights of the child;

9. Recalls that freedom of movement is not only challenged by major global events; notes with regret that, as revealed by the many petitions received on this topic, EU citizens, long-term residents who are citizens of another Member State and family members of EU citizens who are non-EU nationals still encounter legal, administrative and practical obstacles when moving to another Member State, in particular as regards residence procedures, civil or social matters such as family law or pensions, coordination between social security schemes, access to health services, health insurance, education and tax regimes, and the recognition of professional qualifications; highlights that these obstacles often include discriminatory administrative requirements or arbitrary requirements for documents which are not usually issued in other Member States; stresses that these obstacles often result from the lack of a clear definition of certain concepts in the Freedom of Movement Directive, such as ‘comprehensive sickness insurance’ and ‘sufficient resources’; calls on the Commission to include discriminatory administrative practices in Member States, in particular at local level, in its monitoring of the implementation of the Freedom of Movement Directive, to take the necessary enforcement actions against such practices and to provide clarifications of the concepts that are not clearly defined in the Freedom of Movement Directive in its revised guidelines; calls, furthermore, on the Commission and the Member States to promote further cooperation in situations where workers receive benefits and pay contributions in different EU Member States by reinforcing the cross-border exchange of information between the different social security authorities so that all of the contributions can be duly taken into account when calculating pension rights;

10. Calls on the Member States to put in place coordination and cooperation measures in order to effectively tackle the issues of double taxation of car registrations, tax discrimination and double taxation in any cross-border context, and to take better account of the realities of cross-border worker mobility; considers that double taxation issues are insufficiently addressed through existing bilateral tax conventions or unilateral action by Member States and need concerted, timely action at EU level;

11. Stresses that statelessness is a barrier to enjoying EU citizenship rights; regrets the lack of rights conferred through EU long-term resident status and the possibility for Member States to impose limits on free movement; is deeply concerned that only EU citizens are protected from discrimination under the EU acquis; stresses that as a result, stateless persons with long-term residency status cannot enjoy free movement of persons or services, are not covered by the Visa Code and do not enjoy rights equal to those laid down, for example, in the Brussels IIa Regulation; calls on the Commission to revise Council Directive 2003/109/EC and to introduce opportunities to approximate EU long-term resident status to EU citizen status;

12. Suggests that common rules for granting EU citizenship be introduced, which would apply in all Member States;

13. Welcomes the Commission’s announcement that it will review the rules on consular protection; invites the Commission to include in this review an assessment of the accessibility of consular protection for persons with various types of disabilities; urges the Commission to ensure assistance for EU citizens of unrepresented Member States; urges the Commission and the Member States to introduce a right to consular protection for persons who are issued a travel document by a Member State, even if they are not a citizen of that state;

14. Recalls that minimum wages have an important role to play in ensuring that the European Pillar of Social Rights is implemented and that no one is left behind; highlights the precarious conditions cross-border and seasonal workers face, especially since the COVID-19 crisis; calls on the Commission and the Member State to address the vulnerabilities that cross-border and seasonal migrant workers face in the context of the COVID-19 crisis and to ensure that all workers in the EU are granted high levels of social protection and equitable, properly paid jobs, including by ensuring the effective application and enforcement of Union law related to labour mobility and the right to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value; considers this approach to be vital in order to prevent the marginalisation of EU citizens, empower them to fully and actively participate in our democracies and to protect their rights arising from EU citizenship;

15. Notes that the lack of a mutual recognition mechanism for the status of a person with disabilities is one of the reasons behind the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities in exercising their rights to free movement, access to education, employment and cultural goods; supports the development of a mutually recognised EU disability card to ensure equal access within the EU to certain benefits; calls on the Commission and the Member States to introduce an EU disability card in order to guarantee freedom of movement for persons with disabilities;

16. Urges all Member States to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and to sign the Protocol; urges the Commission, in the context of the ratification of this convention, to take the necessary measures to enable persons with disabilities to exercise their full rights as EU citizens, without any form of discrimination;

17. Is concerned about the marginalisation of homeless people because of the difficult living conditions and the lack of information they face; calls on the Member States to take measures to protect homeless people and their rights, to reach out to them with information campaigns about these measures and, thus, to facilitate their inclusion in social and political life and civil society;

18. Welcomes the Commission’s intention, announced in its EU Citizenship Report 2020, to update the directives on the voting rights of mobile EU citizens in municipal and European elections (Council Directives 94/80/EC and 93/109/EC); stresses, in this regard, the urgency of removing all barriers and difficulties which hinder the exercise of voting rights by mobile EU citizens, including by persons with disabilities, increasing and facilitating the provision of information on municipal and European elections and voting procedures (possibly through a fully accessible, single EU-wide information platform), encouraging Member States, in particular at local level, to facilitate the exercise of voting rights of mobile EU citizens, and exploring and implementing remote voting options, including electronic voting, in order to increase and facilitate democratic participation; underlines that for the purpose of remote voting, the Member States have to ensure transparency in the design and deployment of electronic and internet systems, the possibility of holding manual or electronic recounts without compromising the secrecy of the vote and the protection of personal data in accordance with applicable Union law; recalls that in some Member States, persons with disabilities under protective measures, such as guardianship, are automatically excluded from political participation and thus denied the right to vote; stresses the need to move away from this drastic solution in favour of supporting persons with disabilities in selected areas of life; welcomes, in this respect, the Commission’s declaration that it will work with Member States and Parliament to guarantee political rights of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others and in particular to ensure that this right is enjoyed in the next European elections;

19.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to exchange and promote, within the European Cooperation Network on Elections, best practices on how to address the specific electoral needs of disadvantaged groups of citizens in order to increase their participation in elections and ensure that they are empowered to effectively exercise their voting rights in the next European elections; stresses, in this regard, the need for comprehensive data on under-represented categories of voters and the need to agree on a basic set of common definitions of disadvantaged groups, which may include groups such as LGBTIQ people, migrants and refugees, people from low-income households, racial, ethnic or linguistic minorities, and persons with disabilities;

20. Recalls, furthermore, that the electoral rights of EU citizens living abroad is frequently the subject matter of petitions; notes that several Member States deprive their citizens of their right to vote in national parliamentary elections once they move to another EU country; believes that the disenfranchisement of EU citizens on the grounds of their residence abroad, along with the non-recognition of their right to vote in national elections in their country of residence, might hinder the freedom of movement and might result in the denial of the fundamental right to political participation; highlights that several Member States have disenfranchised long-term residents who are citizens of another EU Member State from local and European elections;

21.  Emphasises that over 60 % of the respondents participating in the public consultation on the European Citizenship Report 2020 thought that not enough is being done to inform citizens about their EU citizens rights; calls on the Commission and the Member States to better inform EU citizens about their rights and duties, in formats accessible to people with different types of disabilities, and to ensure entitlement to those rights is respected equally in their country of origin and in any other Member State; stresses the importance of having country-level websites explaining the rights of EU citizens and how to get in contact with MEPs and monitor their votes and decisions;

22. Encourages the Member States to give more space to political education on EU affairs, inter alia on EU citizens’ rights, in their school curricula and to adapt teacher training accordingly; considers that the Member States should promote school visits to EU institutions through their educational systems; emphasises that accessible education plays a vital role in providing information to future citizens;

23. Acknowledges that the current set-up of the EU participatory framework may leave people doubtful about which channel is more suited to their needs and thus deter them from using the available tools to communicate with the EU institutions; calls on the Commission and the Member States to put in place the appropriate instruments to ensure that EU citizens and residents are fully informed about their right to submit petitions to Parliament and their right of recourse to the European Ombudsman as a means of upholding their rights and reporting any violations, in accordance with Article 44 of the Charter and Article 227 TFEU;

24. Calls for the establishment of an online one-stop-shop centralising all EU participatory instruments and providing information, advice and support on engaging with the EU in all EU official languages, and in formats accessible to people with different types of disabilities, thereby helping users to identify and use the most appropriate channel, in order to bring citizens closer to the EU and strengthen their democratic participation; trusts that such a one-stop-shop would streamline the use of the different participatory instruments while fully unlocking their potential;

25. Recalls its support for the Conference on the Future of Europe; strongly believes that the conference is an opportunity for bottom-up participation in the EU democratic process; reiterates its call for the conference to produce concrete recommendations to be addressed by the institutions and turned into actions; calls on all participants in the conference to ensure a genuine follow-up on its outcome;

26. Instructs its President to forward this resolution and the report of the Committee on Petitions to the Council, the Commission, the European Ombudsman, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States, their committees on petitions and their national ombudsmen or similar competent bodies.



EU Citizenship is one of the most tangible achievements of the European Union and sits at the core of a common European identity based on equality, non-discrimination and inclusion. In the latest flash Eurobarometer, 8 out of 10 respondents were aware of their citizenship rights and generally respondents showed high support for freedom of movement and increased electoral rights for mobile citizens, hinting towards the popularity of EU Citizenship Rights. It is therefore of utmost importance that the EU institutions actively ensure that EU citizenship rights are not undermined in any way, shape or form. This requires monitoring of any breaches and concrete actions that can alleviate any shortcomings.

The COVID-19 health crisis created barriers to the enjoyment of rights and highlighted the significance of these rights in the daily lives of millions of EU citizens, which was evidenced by a large number of petitions received by the Parliament. Emergency measures had a significant impact, and while often justified, it is imperative that such measures are only temporary.

Freedom of movement, being a cornerstone of EU citizenship, is often still to access for a large group. Concrete actions must be taken to ensure that all citizens and long-term residents are offered equal treatment in line with their rights conferred by the EU Treaties.

There are several tools at the disposal of EU citizens that enable them to participate in the EU democratic process. However, the fact that they are spread out across different platforms means that using them might be confusing for the EU citizens. In order to encourage more participation in the EU democratic process and get a higher usage of the participatory tools, we must facilitate the use of these platforms including through the creation of a single platform that contains information on the specific purpose and benefits of each tool.

Among EU citizens’ rights of participation in the European democratic process, the right to petition is the longest-existing, most accessible and most user-friendly instrument of EU participatory democracy with the widest scope, enabling EU citizens and residents to directly bring their concerns to the attention of their elected representatives, especially over the application of EU law at national and local level and over issues encountered in the day-to-day exercise of their rights. It follows that petitions play a key role in enabling the political oversight over the Commission and Member States and as well as in contributing to the legislative and policy agenda setting at EU level. It is therefore regrettable that, as it was also the case in the EU Citizenship Report 2017, the Commission’s 2020 Report on EU Citizenship does not provide a comprehensive assessment of the right to petition.


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Alex Agius Saliba, Andris Ameriks, Marc Angel, Margrete Auken, Alexander Bernhuber, Markus Buchheit, Ryszard Czarnecki, Tamás Deutsch, Francesca Donato, Eleonora Evi, Agnès Evren, Gheorghe Falcă, Emmanouil Fragkos, Malte Gallée, Gianna Gancia, Alexis Georgoulis, Peter Jahr, Radan Kanev, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Cristina Maestre Martín De Almagro, Dolors Montserrat, Ulrike Müller, Emil Radev, Sira Rego, Alfred Sant, Massimiliano Smeriglio, Yana Toom, Loránt Vincze, Michal Wiezik, Tatjana Ždanoka, Kosma Złotowski

Substitutes present for the final vote

Demetris Papadakis, Ramona Strugariu, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne






Ryszard Czarnecki, Emmanouil Fragkos, Kosma Złotowski


Francesca Donato


Gheorghe Falcă, Dolors Montserrat, Loránt Vincze, Radan Kanev, Emil Radev, Agnès Evren, Peter Jahr, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Alexander Bernhuber


Michal Wiezik, Ramona Strugariu, Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Ulrike Müller, Yana Toom


Andris Ameriks, Demetris Papadakis, Marc Angel, Alfred Sant, Cristina Maestre Martín De Almagro, Alex Agius Saliba, Massimiliano Smeriglio

The Left

Sira Rego, Alexis Georgoulis


Margrete Auken, Eleonora Evi, Malte Gallée, Tatjana Ždanoka





Gianna Gancia, Markus Buchheit


Tamás Deutsch









Key to symbols:

+ : in favour

- : against

0 : abstention



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