Procedure : 2013/2960(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0024/2014

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 15/01/2014 - 15
CRE 15/01/2014 - 15

Votes :

PV 16/01/2014 - 8.5
CRE 16/01/2014 - 8.5
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0016/2014

to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on respect for the fundamental right of free movement in the EU (2013/2960(RSP))

Renate Weber, Nadja Hirsch, Metin Kazak on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on respect for the fundamental right of free movement in the EU (2013/2960(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to Articles 20, 21, 45, 47 and 151 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Articles 15, 21, 29, 34 and 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–   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 amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC(1),

–   having regard to Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union(2),

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 883/2004(3) and implementing Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 on the coordination of social security systems(4),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 25 November 2013 entitled ‘Free movement of EU citizens and their families: Five actions to make a difference’ (COM(2013)0837),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 13 July 2010 entitled ‘Reaffirming the free movement of workers: rights and major developments’ (COM(2010)0373),

–   having regard to Vice-President Reding’s statement to the Justice and Home Affairs Council of 5 December 2013 on free movement,

–   having regard to its resolution of 2 April 2009 on the application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the rights of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States(5),

–   having regard to its resolution of 29 March 2012 on the EU Citizenship Report 2010: Dismantling the obstacles to EU citizens’ rights(6),

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the right of EU citizens to freely move to and live in any EU country, along with their family members, is one of the four fundamental freedoms enshrined in EU law and is a cornerstone of EU integration;

B.  whereas freedom of movement is a right guaranteed to all European citizens, regardless of the existence of potential border controls put in place by some Member States for the entry of EU citizens within their territory; whereas the fact that not all Member States are part of the Schengen area does not affect the right of all EU citizens to freedom of movement within the Union;

C. whereas the freedom for EU citizens to reside anywhere in the EU applies to all EU citizens without restriction, but is conditional, as per Directive 2004/38/EC, in that after three months the EU citizen concerned has to prove self-sufficiency in order not to burden the host country;

D. whereas since the 1960s EU workers have benefited from this freedom; whereas the Treaty of Maastricht recognised the right to free movement for all EU citizens whether economically active or not; whereas the ability to move freely for purposes other than working, for instance to retire, study or accompany family, has become an essential feature of EU citizenship;

E.  whereas 2 million job vacancies in the EU cannot be filled owing to low mobility and at the same time the EU is facing an unemployment level without precedent; whereas the free movement of workers represents a positive socio-economic example for both the EU and the Member States, being a milestone for EU integration, economic development, social cohesion, individual upgrading at professional level, counteracting the negative effects of the economic crisis and consolidating the Union as a stronger economic power, prepared to face the challenges of global change;

F.  whereas mobility flows are driven mainly by labour demand, and in times of labour supply and demand mismatches at European level transitional barriers can hamper the economic development of European companies and the right to work and reside on the territory of another Member State;

G. whereas transitional arrangements for the free movement of workers from Bulgaria and Romania have been abolished from 1 January 2014;

H. whereas the principle of equal treatment or non-discrimination implies that all EU citizens have the same rights and obligations as the nationals of the country where they live (Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009 are based on this principle); whereas each Member State determines its own national social security system and national social security systems are coordinated but not harmonised at EU level;

I.   whereas the recent evolution of our societies, notably as a result of industrial change, globalisation, new work patterns, demographic change and the development of means of transport, calls for a higher degree of mobility among workers;

J.   whereas in the current economic downturn across the EU, the remittances sent by mobile workers to their home countries can have a net positive effect on the balance of payments of the sending countries; whereas with regard to the demographic situation of many Member States, their future economic stability and growth will be dependent on workers from other Member States;

K. whereas thanks to the freedom of movement of workers in the EU, thousands of unemployed, in particular young people without any prospects of finding a job as a consequence of the current economic and financial crisis in Europe, have found employment in another Member State;

L.  whereas EU citizens see free movement as the right most closely associated with EU citizenship, as the most positive achievement of the EU and as bringing economic benefits to their country’s economy;

M. whereas the Council has reiterated its support for free movement and has acknowledged the mutual benefits it brings, as for example in a recent debate in the Justice and Home Affairs Council (8 October 2013, 5-6 December 2013);

N. whereas with the European elections approaching, the free movement of EU citizens has become a campaign issue for some political parties; whereas there is a risk that this debate, if not addressed rationally, could lead to scapegoating EU citizens from some Member States, or EU mobile citizens, and could lead to a rise in racism and xenophobia;

1.  Calls on the Member States to honour their Treaty obligations as regards EU rules on freedom of movement, and to ensure that the principles of equality and fundamental right to the freedom of movement are upheld for all Member States;

2.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the strict enforcement of Union law so as to guarantee that all EU workers are treated equally and not discriminated against as regards access to employment, employment and working conditions, remuneration, dismissal, and social and tax benefits, thereby ensuring fair competition among businesses; and urges national authorities to combat any unjustified restrictions on or obstacles to workers’ right of free movement, along with any exploitation of those workers;

3.  Recalls that the free movement of workers gives every citizen of the Union, irrespective of his or her place of residence, the right to move freely to another Member State in order to work and/or to reside for work purposes;

4.  Rejects altogether any proposal to cap numbers of EU migrants as being in contradiction to the EU Treaty principle of the free movement of people; points out that mobility of labour contributes to the competitiveness of the European economy;

5.  Welcomes the Commission communication COM(2013)0837 setting out five actions to help Member States and their local authorities apply EU laws and tools to their full potential, and, in this regard, fully supports the following actions, to be implemented jointly with the Member States: helping Member States fight marriages of convenience (handbook); helping authorities apply EU social security coordination rules (practical guide); helping authorities meet social inclusion challenges (funding); exchange of best practices between local authorities; and training and support of local authorities for purposes of applying the EU rules on free movement;

6.  Supports the Commission’s proposal as put forward in its 2013 Citizenship Report to reform the social security coordination regulation in order to extend the mandatory minimum period that home Member States must provide benefits for their citizens from three to six months; considers that such a proposal will help provide security for jobseekers when they move to other EU countries and reduce the fiscal costs for host Member States;

7.  Stresses that the European economy needs efforts to enhance, rather than limit, free movement and labour mobility in the EU, and calls on the Member States to ensure the free movement of all citizens and workers in order to allow the development of a genuine Union labour market, remove bottlenecks and allow EU workers to move to areas where their skills are demanded;

8.  Recalls that working in another EU Member State comes with obligations for citizens to contribute to the social security system of that Member State, and thereby also the right to access it;

9.  Regrets and expresses its concern at the inaccurate and misleading link made by some media and political actors at national and European level between EU citizens from other Member States and the small number of abuses of the system, and calls on the Member States to take action to prevent such abuse, including by its own nationals; welcomes, in this regard, the Commission’s initiative to help authorities in applying EU social security coordination rules and the practical guide to determining ‘habitual residence’;

10. Recalls that there is no statistical support for any link between EU workers’ mobility and the generosity of the social welfare system in the host country;

11. Calls on Member States and governments not to blame EU citizens from other Member States for the harsh economic consequences of the economic and financial crisis, and, rather, to embrace the presence of those workers and raise awareness among their nationals of those workers’ contribution to the host economy;

12. Underlines the need to support cities in providing programmes for education and integration for EU migrants;

13. Calls on the Commission and the Council to enable greater flexibility in the use of funds, especially in reallocating funding if Member States have not used their budget in time; stresses that the Commission should respect Member States’ competences in the field of social welfare; calls on the Commission not to increase bureaucracy in Member States by demanding inappropriate examination of individual cases;

14. Encourages the Commission to continue its current efforts to ensure that the Member States transpose and implement Directive 2004/38/EC fully and correctly, making full use of its power to commence infringement proceedings; calls on the Member States to remove existing legal and practical barriers to citizens’ right to free movement and not to introduce cumbersome, unjustified administrative procedures or tolerate unacceptable practices restricting the application of that right;

15. Reiterates its previous calls for the Member States to ensure freedom of movement for all EU citizens and their families, without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or nationality; reiterates its call for the Member States to implement fully the rights granted under Articles 2 and 3 of Directive 2004/38/EC, not only to different-sex spouses, but also to registered partners, members of the household of an EU citizen, and partners who are in a duly attested stable relationship with an EU citizen, including members of same-sex couples, on the basis of the principles of mutual recognition, equality, non-discrimination, dignity and respect for private and family life; calls on the Commission, in this connection, to ensure that the directive is strictly applied;

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.


OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.


OJ L 141, 27.5.2011, p. 1.


OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 1.


OJ L 284, 30.10.2009, p. 1.


OJ C 137 E, 27.5.2010, p. 6.


OJ C 257 E, 6.9.2013, p. 74.

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