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Procedure : 1999/2157(COS)
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Document selected : A5-0207/2000

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Wednesday, 6 September 2000 - Strasbourg
Movement and residence of EU citizens

European Parliament resolution on the report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of Directives 90/364/EEC , 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC (right of residence) and on the communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the special measures concerning the movement and residence of citizens of the Union which are justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health (COM(1999) 127 , COM(1999) 372 - C5-0177/1999 , C5-0178/1999 - 1999/2157(COS) )

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the report and the communication from the Commission (COM(1999) 127 , COM(1999) 372 - C5-0177/1999 , C5-0178/1999 ),

-  having regard, in particular, to Articles 14, 17, 18 and 39 of the EC Treaty,

-  having regard to the report of the High Level Group on free movement of persons submitted to the Commission on 18 March 1997 (the Simone Veil report),

-  having regard to the second report from the Commission on citizenship of the Union of 17 June 1997,

-  having regard to the Green Paper on supplementary pensions in the single market (COM(1997) 283 ),

-  having regard to the 1997-1998 report of ECAS (European Citizens Action Service),

-  having regard to the Commission communication: Action plan for free movement of workers (COM(1997) 586 - C4-0650/1997 ), and to its resolution of 16 July 1998 thereon(1) ,

-  having regard to Rule 47(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

-  having regard to the report of the Committee on Citizens' Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market, the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the Committee on Culture, Youth, Education, the Media and Sport and the Committee on Petitions (A5-0207/2000 ),

A.  having regard to Article 14, concerning free movement of persons, and Articles 17 and 18 of the EC Treaty concerning European citizenship, which entails the right to move and to reside freely throughout the territory of the European Union,

B.  whereas however the Commission report and the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (CJEC) indicate that European citizens of all categories still face numerous obstacles to the exercise of their right of movement and residence,

C.  whereas non-EU citizens legally resident in the Union are excluded from the right to free movement and establishment,

D.  whereas the implementation of Directives 90/364/EEC , 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC on the right of residence of students and retired people is still highly unsatisfactory, as the people concerned suffer on account of the slowness and administrative cost of the procedures for obtaining residence permits and are required to renew these documents, often without justification,

E.  whereas in order to obtain residence permits, retired people are required to demonstrate that they have adequate resources, which it is often difficult for them to do, while this criterion is furthermore assessed differently in different Member States and without reference to their real situation, and whereas therefore the existing legislation needs to be revised without delay,

F.  whereas certain categories of workers, particularly those in "atypical" employment or employment of very brief duration, part-time workers, temporary workers, seasonal workers and unemployed migrant workers, often encounter major difficulties of residence in the host country because of the formalities for renewal of their permits associated with the production of evidence of adequate resources,

G.  whereas in general the right of movement and residence, which is a major aspect of European citizenship (which itself is a fundamental right which cannot be reserved solely for citizens of the Member States), should wherever possible be viewed without reference to the economic considerations which currently impede its full exercise,

H.  whereas millions of third country nationals are residing legally within the EU,

I.  whereas moreover migrant workers are penalised in that they suffer the pecuniary consequences of the inadequate harmonisation of pension systems,

J.  having regard to the unacceptable violations of the right of residence which are still too often committed by the Member States, which misinterpret the concept of "public policy" and fail to respect the objectives laid down by Directive 64/221/EEC and the case law of the CJEC in this field,

K.  whereas the full exercise of the right of free movement and residence not only corresponds to the very implementation of the principle of European citizenship but also, by facilitating the mobility of students and workers, promotes dynamism and economic competitiveness,

L.  whereas fifty years after the Treaty of Rome for the first time laid down the principle of free movement of persons, this right is still impeded or even ignored, which makes it necessary to promote genuine European citizenship,

M.  whereas therefore the Commission and Council ought to do everything in their power to impart real meaning to European citizenship and to the "European area of freedom",

1.  Welcomes the report, but calls on the Commission to explain the delay in submitting a report on the implementation of Directive 93/96/EEC to the Council and Parliament;

2.  Notes that the report does not deal with the obstacles faced by workers to the exercise of their right of movement and residence, and covers the situation of third-country nationals only to the extent that they are members of the family of a European citizen;

3.  Stresses the need, on the basis of a complete overhaul of the existing rules, to adopt a framework directive to organise and guarantee the unimpeded exercise of freedom of movement and residence;

4.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission, when implementing this framework directive, to adopt the necessary measures to render the exercise of European citizenship far more effective for the various categories of persons concerned, by putting an end to the existing inequalities of treatment;

5.  Considers, in this context, that the introduction for all applicants of a residence permit valid for one year would be a first step in this direction;

6.  Deplores, in a "European area of freedom", the abusive use by Member States of public policy as grounds for expulsions; considers it essential, therefore, for Member States to endeavour to ensure that they improve their coordination of the interpretation of the concept of public policy, particularly in the context of the Schengen agreements;

7.  Urges the Commission to ensure that the legal remedies provided by Directive 64/221/EEC are not undermined in any way, and that any person covered by this Directive is not deprived of his or her rights of defence and assistance or representation;

8.  Takes the view that systematic or automatic linkage between criminal conviction and deportation is a breach of Community law and the principle of non-discrimination; points out that each and every deportation must be accounted for in terms of the present danger to public order and safety, and carefully assessed in the light of the personal circumstances of the person concerned and the need to protect family life;

9.  Believes that citizenship of the Union must be interpreted in a broad sense; is therefore of the opinion that third-country subjects who are born in the country of residence or have lived there since childhood, are long-term residents with cultural, social and family links in the country of residence or who are minors should not be deported;

10.  Takes the view that the Schengen Information System must comply with Community law, more specifically,

in applying the provisions of Directive 64/221/EEC , which expressly states that personal data concerning a measure that comes under the scope of the directive, and is no longer valid or has been repealed, may not be preserved and that such data may not be included in Community lists or automatically passed on, and that refusing to grant access to the Schengen area to persons who are Union citizens, or who have become so, on the basis of registration in the SIS is in conflict with Community law;
in applying Directive 95/46/EC, which expressly states that personal data obtained for specified, explicitly defined and justified purposes may not be used in a way that is incompatible with such purposes;

calls on the Commission to exercise its responsibility as guardian of the Treaties and take steps to put an end to these infringements of Community law;

11.  Regrets that the Council takes no notice of the communications from the Committee on Petitions concerning serious breaches of Community law on the part of the authorities of the Member States, which reveals a negative attitude on the part of the Council towards the right of petition of European citizens, and calls on the Council to pay the necessary attention to the rights of Union citizens;

Movement and residence of students

12.  Calls on Member States:

to ensure, with regard to the right of residence of students, that their national administrations strictly apply the current provisions of Directive 93/96/EEC (enrolment at a recognised institution, a simple statement of adequate means, health insurance cover) to the exclusion of all other conditions;
to limit in so far as possible the formalities relating to the renewal of residence permits and to consider issuing these documents free of charge;
to ensure that all students are able to apply for a work permit in the country in which they are studying in order to finance their studies;
not to make financial assistance to students subject to nationality conditions;

13.  Calls upon the Commission to study:

ways of widening the scope of the Directive to embrace trainees and volunteer workers;
problems in connection with the recognition of diplomas in certain professions;

14.  Takes note of the Commission's intention to extend the scope of Directive 93/96/EEC on students" right of residence to all educational establishments, and to examine how to create more clarity on the scope of students" right of residence, giving special attention to the administrative problems which trainees and participants in voluntary projects encounter, and whether it is possible to make the first issuing and renewal of residence permits for students free of charge; calls on the Commission to submit appropriate amendments to the directive to Parliament and the Council;

Movement and residence of retired people

15.  Welcomes the Commission proposals to the effect that the existing directives should be so revised as to:

simplify and render as flexible as possible the procedures for providing evidence of adequate means for retired people;
take account of the impact on the validity of residence permits of the increasingly common practice of living alternately in the host country and the country of origin in the course of a single year;

Movement and residence of migrant workers

16.  Calls on Member States to facilitate to the maximum the granting and renewal of residence permits for migrant workers, particularly temporary, part- time or seasonal workers, by granting them a five-year residence permit if they have held jobs for more than twelve months during a period of a residence in the host country exceeding eighteen months;

17.  Calls on host Member States moreover to allow unemployed workers:

to extend their right of residence for the period during which they are entitled to draw unemployment benefit in the country concerned
to renew their residence permit automatically for periods of at least six months while they are genuinely seeking employment;

18.  Calls on the Council, in this respect, to resume without further delay its consideration of the three proposals by the Commission on this subject designed to improve the free movement of workers and their families within the Community (COM(1998) 394 )(2) ;

Status of migrant workers under employment legislation

19.  Calls on Member States to carry out the improvement and modernisation essential for social protection in the EU so as to halt the penalisation of migrant workers and posted workers arising from:

non-recognition of certain pension schemes between Member States and difficulties of transferring acquired rights;
the restrictive character of the conditions imposed for the acquisition of supplementary pension rights (long periods during which no pension is payable);
fiscal problems associated with the acquisition of pension rights in numerous Member States;
difficulties relating to the transfer of early retirement benefits paid from a certain age to workers who are not employed in any form;

Family status in the host country

20.  Considers that family reunification must be simplified and facilitated, as it is a vital factor making for integration in the host country; calls on the Commission and Member States, when revising legislation on this subject, to decide:

that the spouse of a resident student or retired person or, if the law of the Member State concerned treats the situation of unmarried couples as married couples, the unmarried partner with whom the person reuniting the family has a lasting relationship should have a genuine autonomous right of residence conferred upon them on the same terms, as regards resources, as upon the resident student or retired person;
that in the event of divorce or decease of the person who obtained the residence permit, members of his or her family should have the right to take up or continue to undertake employment or self-employment;
that the previous provisions should also apply, on the same terms, to members of the family of a Community national originating in a third country and, in general, that visa formalities should be eased or abolished;

Economic, social and cultural context of the right of residence of migrants

21.  Considers that the practical exercise of the right of movement and residence presupposes a thorough improvement of the social context (equality of treatment with regard to social and fiscal advantages, greater transparency of the employment market, a greater role for the EURES network), the educational context (access to education and training) and the cultural context (language learning) of migrants and their families; draws attention once more to its request for the introduction of a border impact assessment (the Europe test), to measure the impact of new or amending legislation concerning tax and social security policy on the situation of workers and their families who work in a Member State other than the one in which they live;

22.  Considers that steps should be taken to allow the free movement of legally resident third country nationals who have lived within the EU for a period of five years or more;

23.  Observes likewise that the European citizens concerned are inadequately informed as to their rights and the means of redress open to them, and that this situation should be remedied, particularly by means of better training of the national administrative staff concerned and information campaigns; calls explicitly for a continuation of the support for the initiatives of NGOs concerning complaint procedures in respect of free movement, legal support for complaint procedures and cataloguing the most frequent complaints, with guarantees of the financial resources required;

24.  Urges the Commission to speed up its internal procedures so as to stop more quickly the breaches of Community law;

o   o

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

(1) OJ C 292, 21.9.1998, p. 145.
(2)OJ C 344, 12.11.1998, pp. 9, 12 & 16.

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