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Procedure : 2018/2111(INI)
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Document selected : A8-0041/2019

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PV 11/02/2019 - 16
CRE 11/02/2019 - 16

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PV 12/02/2019 - 9.15
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Tuesday, 12 February 2019 - Strasbourg
Implementation of the Treaty provisions related to EU Citizenship

European Parliament resolution of 12 February 2019 on the implementation of the Treaty provisions related to EU citizenship (2018/2111(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Articles 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 21, 23 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), and to Articles 8, 9, 10, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 45, 46, 47, 48, 153, 165 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Articles 10 and 11 TEU, and to the statement in Article 10(3) that ‘every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union’,

–  having regard to Article 3(2) TEU enshrining the right of free movement of persons,

–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2020-2027,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents(1),

–  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(2),

–  having regard to Council Regulation (EU) No 390/2014 of 14 April 2014 establishing the ‘Europe for Citizens’ programme(3) for the period 2014-2020,

–  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(4),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/589 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 April 2016 on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers’ access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets, and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013(5),

–  having regard to Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications(6),

–  having regard to Directive 2013/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 amending Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System(7),

–  having regard to the proposal for a Council Directive establishing an EU Emergency Travel Document and repealing Decision 96/409/CFSP (COM(2018)0358),

–  having regard to Council Directive (EU) 2015/637 of 20 April 2015 on the coordination and cooperation measures to facilitate consular protection for unrepresented citizens of the Union in third countries and repealing Decision 95/553/EC(8),

–  having regard to the Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Rights and Values programme (COM(2018)0383),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2009 on guidance for better transposition and application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (COM(2009)0313),

–  having regard to the Commission report of 24 January 2017 entitled ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Rights in a Union of Democratic Change – EU Citizenship Report 2017’ (COM(2017)0030),

–  having regard to the Commission recommendation of 12 September 2018 on election cooperation networks, online transparency, protection against cybersecurity incidents and fighting disinformation campaigns in the context of elections to the European Parliament (C(2018)5949),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 February 2017 on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty(9),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 October 2015 on the European Citizens’ Initiative(10) and to the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the European Citizens’ Initiative (COM(2017)0482),

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2014 on EU citizenship for sale(11),

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 April 2016 on ‘Learning EU at school’(12),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 March 2017 on the implementation of Council Regulation (EU) No 390/2014 of 14 April 2014 establishing the ʻEurope for Citizensʼ programme for the period 2014-2020(13),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 March 2017 on obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the internal market(14),

–  having regard to the Opinion of the Committee of the Regions of 31 January 2013 on ‘Strengthening EU citizenship promotion of EU citizens’ electoral rights’,

–  having regard to the studies published in 2016 by Parliament’s Policy Department C, entitled ‘Obstacles to the right of free movement and residence for EU citizens and their families’,

–  having regard to the report of 2018 by the Fundamental Rights Agency entitled ‘Making EU citizens’ rights a reality: national courts enforcing freedom of movement and related rights’,

–  having regard to the results of Eurobarometer 89/2018,

–   having regard to its resolution of 7 February 2018 on the composition of the European Parliament(15),

–   having regard to its position of 4 July 2018 on the draft Council decision amending the Act concerning the election of the members of the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, annexed to Council Decision 76/787/ECSC, EEC, Euratom of 20 September 1976 (the ‘Electoral Act’)(16),

–  having regard to its decision of 7 February 2018 on the revision of the Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission(17),

–   having regard to its resolution of 30 May 2018 on the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework and own resources(18),

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 November 2018 on the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 – Parliament's position with a view to an agreement(19),

–   having regard to the Commission communication of 12 September 2018 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Securing free and fair European elections’ (COM(2018)0637),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure, as well as Article 1(1)(e) of, and Annex 3 to, the decision of the Conference of Presidents of 12 December 2002 on the procedure for granting authorisation to draw up own-initiative reports,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and of the Committee on Petitions (A8-0041/2019),

A.  whereas EU citizenship and its related rights were initially introduced in 1992 by the Treaty of Maastricht and were further enhanced by the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in December 2009, but have been only partially implemented;

B.  whereas the rights, values and principles on which the Union is based, which are highlighted in Articles 2 and 6 TEU, put the citizen at the very centre of the European project; whereas the debate on the future of Europe therefore also implies a reflection on the strength of our common identity;

C.  whereas the principles of transparency, integrity and accountability of the EU institutions and of the decision-making processes, as derived from Articles 10 and 11 TEU and Article 41 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, are substantive elements of the concept of citizenship and are essential for building and strengthening credibility and trust in the Union as a whole; whereas the recourse to ad hoc and intergovernmental arrangements and instruments in several EU policy areas, as well as to informal decision-making bodies, circumventing and de-institutionalising the ordinary legislative procedure, risks severely undermining such principles;

D.  whereas the EU has had difficulties in facing numerous crises with important socio-economic consequences which have led to the emergence of populist and nationalist ideologies based on exclusive identities and supremacist criteria which contradict European values;

E.  whereas the unsatisfactory management of the various crises has increased citizens’ disappointment in some of the results of the EU integration project; whereas it is crucial to ensure that EU citizenship is regarded as a cherished privilege among citizens, including by restoring confidence in the EU project, giving primacy to the promotion of all citizens’ rights, including civil, political and social rights among others, improving the quality of democracy within the Union, the practical enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms and the opportunity for every citizen to participate in the democratic life of the Union, while providing for a greater involvement of civil society in decision-making and implementation processes;

F.  whereas the current revision of the ECI aims to improve its effectiveness and enhance participative democracy and active citizenship;

G.  whereas access to EU citizenship is gained through possession of the nationality of a Member State, which is regulated by national laws; whereas at the same time, the rights and duties deriving from EU citizenship are laid down by EU law and do not depend on Member States, hence cannot be limited in an unjustified manner by them;

H.  whereas in the context of access to national citizenship, Member States should be subject to the principles of EU law, such as proportionality, the rule of law and non-discrimination, which have been thoroughly elaborated in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union;

I.  whereas the prospect of Brexit has highlighted the importance of EU citizenship rights, especially among young Europeans, and their role in the lives of millions of EU citizens, and has also raised awareness in the EU concerning the potential loss of such rights on both sides;

J.  whereas the average turnout in the elections to the European Parliament in 2014 was 42.6 %; whereas according to the most recent Eurobarometer poll published in May 2018, only19 % of Europeans interviewed knew the date of the next European elections;

K.  whereas EU citizens are almost completely unaware of the Europe Direct offices despite their main role being to provide information;

L.  whereas there are over 400 Europe Direct Information Centres across the EU which contribute to the Commission’s communication on European Union policies of direct interest to citizens with the objective of engaging with citizens at local and regional level;

M.  whereas the concept of citizenship defines the relationship of citizens with a political community, including their rights, duties, and responsibilities; whereas Article 20 TFEU give the citizens of the Union the right to vote and to stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament and in municipal elections in their Member State of residence, under the same conditions as nationals of that state;

N.  whereas European citizens are directly represented in the European Parliament and every citizen must receive equal attention from the EU institutions; whereas Article 8 TFEU establishes the principle of gender mainstreaming by stating that ‘In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women’;

O.  whereas the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has established in a number of cases that the rights deriving from EU citizenship can also be invoked by nationals of a Member State vis-à-vis that same state(20);

P.  whereas several Member States offer so-called ‘golden visa programmes’ and investor schemes as means of obtaining their nationality;

Q.  whereas the freedom of movement provides EU citizens with opportunities to travel, study, work and live in other EU countries; whereas more than 16 million Europeans enjoy their right to reside in another EU country;

R.  whereas the right to freedom of movement is central to EU citizenship and complements the other freedoms of the EU internal market; whereas young Europeans are particularly attached to the freedom of movement, which is regarded as the EU’s most positive achievement after ensuring peace in Europe;

S.  whereas the implementation of Directive 2004/38/EC has encountered practical difficulties and Europeans may still find it difficult to move to or live in another Member State owing to discrimination arising from nationality, entry and residence requirements; whereas there is considerable Court of Justice jurisprudence intended to clarify key concepts for mobile EU citizens;

T.  whereas the right to consular protection is guaranteed under Articles 20 and 23 TFEU, and EU citizens are therefore, in the territory of a third country in which their Member State of nationality is not represented, entitled to protection by any other Member State on the same conditions as nationals of that state; whereas emergencies, natural disasters or events such as terrorist attacks may affect European citizens who are from a Member State with no representation in the third country concerned;

U.  whereas the Commission has demonstrated a commitment in the EU Citizenship Report 2017 to organise an EU-wide information and awareness‑raising campaign on EU citizenship in order to help citizens to better understand their rights; whereas this responsibility to better inform EU citizens of their rights and duties needs to be shared by Member States and civil society;

V.  whereas, according to the Commission’s 2017 EU Citizenship Report, since 2012 a growing number of people have reported experiencing some form of discrimination;

W.  whereas the creation of the Schengen area and the integration of the Schengen acquis into the EU framework have greatly enhanced the freedom of movement within the EU and are one of the greatest achievements of the European integration process;

X.  whereas the introduction of European citizenship is an achievement of the European project, which has yet to realise its full potential; underlines that this is a unique construction not seen anywhere else is the world;

1.  Considers that not all the provisions concerning EU citizenship have been implemented to reach their full potential, even though this would enable the consolidation of a European identity; highlights that the creation of Union citizenship has proven that a form of citizenship which is not determined by nationality can exist and that it forms the foundation of a political area from which rights and duties derive, which are determined by the law of the European Union and not the State; calls on the Union institutions to take the necessary measures to improve the implementation, scope and effectiveness of the Treaty provisions concerning citizenship as well as of the corresponding provisions enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; points out that European citizens are not fully aware of their rights deriving from citizenship of the Union;

2.  Recalls that EU citizenship is additional to citizenship of a Member State; underlines that EU citizenship enables the complementarity of multiple identities for the citizen, and that exclusive nationalism and populist ideologies undermine that capacity; is of the opinion that exercising active citizenship and encouraging civic participation is key to reinforcing the sense of belonging to a political project to foster the development of a shared sense of European identity, mutual understanding, intercultural dialogue and transnational cooperation and to building open, inclusive, cohesive and resilient societies;

3.  Considers that the full implementation, by the EU institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the active promotion of the rights and principles enshrined therein represent an essential lever for guaranteeing the effective involvement of citizens in the EU democratic process and to give concreteness to the provisions enshrined in Article 20 TFEU;

4.  Stresses that the body of rights and obligations arising from Union citizenship cannot be limited in an unjustified manner; in this regard, urges Member States to make use of their prerogative to grant citizenship in a spirit of fair cooperation, including in cases of children of EU citizens who face difficulties in satisfying the criteria for citizenship under national rules; underlines that the successful exercise of citizenship rights presupposes that all rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights are protected and promoted, including for people with disabilities who should be able to exercise their fundamental rights in the same way as any other citizens, and that gender mainstreaming is implemented in order to ensure the full enjoyment of the rights linked to EU citizenship by women;

5.  Recalls that Union citizenship also has extended implications and confers rights in the field of democratic participation as derived from Articles 10 and 11 TEU; stresses that for the exercise of the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, decisions should be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen, and that it is therefore fundamental to provide the relevant guarantees on transparency in decision-making and the fight against corruption;

6.  Regrets the existing opt-outs from parts of the Treaties by some Member States, which undermine and generate de facto differences in citizens’ rights that are intended to be equal under the Treaties;

7.  Notes that the Erasmus+ programme, the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme, and the Europe for Citizens programme bring, for EU citizens and in particular the young, great benefits by raising their awareness of their status as EU citizens and enhancing their knowledge of the rights deriving from that status and its underlying values; takes the view that European voluntary programmes such as European Voluntary Service and the European Solidarity Corps also play an integral part in building European citizenship; underlines the paramount importance of such programmes, especially among young people, and calls for them to be financially reinforced;

Political rights

8.  Is concerned at the trend to decline in voter turnout in both national and European Parliament elections, especially among young people; is convinced that the strengthening of the EU public sphere and the full implementation of European citizenship have the potential to help reverse that decline by increasing citizens’ sense of belonging to a European community and boosting representative democracy;

9.  Acknowledges the Commission’s efforts to promote programmes fostering European citizenship and citizens’ awareness of their political rights; observes, however, the scant progress made in implementing Article 165 TFEU as a legal basis to promote the European dimension in citizens’ education; deems it essential to promote the participation of citizens in the democratic life of the EU, and believes that the development of EU curricula in educational systems should be a priority for continuing to build on the potential of EU citizenship;

10.  Deplores once again the fact that some EU citizens are disenfranchised in their Member State of nationality and cannot participate in national parliamentary elections in their Member State of residence; underlines that the loss of electoral rights arising from residence in another Member State could discourage citizens from moving to another Member State and therefore could constitute a potential violation of Article 18 TFEU;

11.   Considers that, in a system of representative democracy, it is essential to ensure the proper functioning of the EU institutions in order to protect all political rights of EU citizens; stresses the importance of the accessibility of information on EU citizenship and the rights derived from its possession in all official languages of the European Union to reinforce the notion of EU citizenship; deplores the fact that since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Article 15(3) TFEU, which became the legal base for public access to documents and which extends the rules on access to all the Union institutions, bodies, agencies and offices, has not yet been fully implemented; considers that progress in the adoption of the new regulation has been consistently obstructed by the Member States;

Freedom of movement

12.  Welcomes the benefits that free movement brings to EU citizens and the Member States’ economies; points out that the rights derived from Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their families to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States are not always known and respected, which leads to obstacles to free movement and residence for EU citizens and their families as well as to discrimination against them; recalls the obligation of the Member States to protect freedom of movement rights, including family reunification, for same-sex spouses;

13.  Is concerned that the interpretation of certain provisions and terms of Directive 2004/38/EC by national courts differs not only across Member States, but sometimes also within the same jurisdiction; notes with concern that national authorities are not always fully aware of the rights and obligations established under Directive 2004/38/EC;

14.  Underlines the problem of the absence of information or the provision of incorrect or confusing information on visa requirements for family members or on residence rights; insists that Member States should ensure the removal of unnecessary barriers to the right of entry/residence, in particular for third‑country nationals who are family members of EU citizens;

15.  Is concerned about the difficulties encountered by citizens in getting their professional qualifications recognised across Europe; believes that the Professional Qualifications Directive and European Qualifications Framework have helped facilitate recognition among Member States; also believes that professional recognition is key to ensure a higher degree of mobility for both students and professionals; calls on the Commission to continue the trend of facilitating professional recognition as much as possible;

16.  Is deeply concerned about the findings of the research carried out by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which has identified discrimination in finding employment, in accessing various services such as renting a car or an apartment or certain banking services, and in the fields of education and taxation; emphasises that discrimination on the grounds of nationality may create barriers to the free movement of Union citizens; calls for the EU and the Member States to pay particular attention to monitoring such cases of discrimination and to take decisive actions to prevent them;

17.  Underlines the role of mobility in the personal development of young people by enhancing learning and cultural exchanges and improving understanding of active citizenship and its practice; encourages the Member States to support EU programmes promoting mobility;

18.  Values the importance of culture, art and science as integral aspects of active EU citizenship; stresses their role in strengthening citizens’ shared sense of belonging to the Union, boosting mutual understanding and stimulating intercultural dialogue;

Consular protection

19.  Notes that almost seven million EU citizens currently live in countries outside the EU, and that this number is expected to increase to at least 10 million by 2020;

20.  Considers that the right to consular protection benefits all EU citizens, and recalls that Council Directive (EU) 2015/637 interprets consular protection in the widest possible sense, i.e. as any kind of consular assistance; stresses that awareness of those rights remains limited;

21.  Calls on the Commission to publish an assessment of the implementation of Council Directive (EU) 2015/637 and to launch infringement proceedings where applicable; calls on the Member States to develop emergency protocols, taking unrepresented citizens into account, in order to improve communications in emergency situations in coordination with other Member States’ representations and EU delegations; recalls its long-standing call for reinforcement of the role of the EU delegations in third countries and highlights the added value provided by the EU diplomatic network present on the ground;

Petition to the European Parliament and complaint to the European Ombudsman

22.  Stresses the importance of the right to petition, as established by Articles 227 TFEU and 44 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights respectively, and the right to refer to the Ombudsman enshrined in Articles 228 TFEU and 43 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights; commends the work of the European Ombudsman in combating maladministration in the Union institutions, bodies and agencies, and in particular in the field of transparency; stresses the importance of transparency for proper democratic functioning and participation within the Union that generates trust among its citizens; endorses in this regard the recommendations by the Ombudsman in her recent Special Report on the transparency of the Council legislative process;


23.  Recommends that the Commission exercise its prerogatives under Article 258 TFEU to ask the CJEU to decide if disenfranchisement due to residence in another EU Member State should be considered to be a violation of freedom of movement and residence; calls again on Member States to implement the Venice Commission’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters, including the abolition of disenfranchisement of expatriates in elections to national parliaments;

24.  Suggests that the Commission, through the procedure established in Article 25 TFEU, extend the rights listed in Article 20(2) TFEU in order to allow EU citizens to choose whether to vote in their Member State of nationality or of residence and that this be extended to include all elections, in line with the constitutional possibilities of each Member State;

25.  Calls on the Member States to introduce e-democracy tools at local and national level, and properly integrate them in the political process, facilitating democratic participation for both citizens and residents;

26.  Considers that the revision of the legal framework governing the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) presents an opportunity to enhance citizens’ participation in EU policy making by rendering the instrument less bureaucratic and more accessible;

27.  Calls on the Commission to develop more robust practices as regards the political and legal follow-up given to successful ECIs;

28.  Insists on more resources being invested in and on the creation of additional programmes and initiatives which aim to foster a European public space where the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms, social welfare and the fulfilment of European values become the model for citizens’ identity; welcomes the Rights and Values Programme as a valuable example of the Union’s active support for its values and rights deriving from EU citizenship and enshrined in the Treaties, including by means of supporting civil society organisations which promote and protect these rights and values; stresses the importance of preserving the current budget for the Rights and Values Programme; firmly opposes its downsizing in the new multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027 as proposed by the Commission;

29.  Strongly encourages the European political parties and their party members to ensure a gender‑balanced representation of candidates by means of zipped lists or other equivalent methods;

30.  Proposes to increase significantly the visibility of Europe Direct offices; underlines that these offices should operate as intermediators cooperating with public administrations in the Member States and civil society (including trade unions, business associations and public and private bodies) to actively inform European citizens about their rights and obligations, and to foster the participation of citizens at local level in the democratic life of the European Union; encourages Member States and entities at regional and local level to actively cooperate with these offices; underlines that these offices should synergise with programmes such as Europe for Citizens; asks the Commission to ensure that these offices centralise the relevant information which enables EU citizens to exercise their rights, and to facilitate the exercise of EU citizenship rights; believes that the SOLVIT service should be further streamlined to act more effectively in the protection of EU citizens’ rights before the latter seek any judicial or administrative remedy;

31.  Along these lines, calls on the Commission to come forward with a proposal enhancing both the role of Europe Direct offices, as well as the exercise of EU citizenship building on the rights conferred on workers in the application of the Directive 2014/54/EU, including the rights of EU citizens to protection from discrimination, the exercise of their voting rights under Article 22 TFEU, and their free movement rights under Article 21 TFEU and Directive 2004/38/EC, and the right to freedom of movement enjoyed by the members of their families;

32.  Calls on the Commission to act systematically on Member States’ breaches of Directive 2004/38/EC, and asks for revamped EU guidance for applying and interpreting legislation affecting EU citizens in order to include the recent developments from the CJEU, thus ensuring that EU law is fully effective;

33.  Calls for the consistent implementation of gender mainstreaming in all EU activities, in particular when adopting legislation or implementing policies linked to EU citizenship;

34.  Recalls that Parliament, since 2014 and on various occasions, has expressed its concern that any national scheme that involves the direct or indirect sale of EU citizenship undermines the very concept of European citizenship; asks the Commission to monitor such schemes and to produce a report on national schemes granting EU citizenship to investors, as foreseen in the 2017 Citizenship report;

35.  Regrets that the Commission’s 2017 Citizenship report makes no reference to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the right of petition, the right to refer to the European Ombudsman, the right to access documents or the right to support an ECI; calls on the Commission to pay full attention to the provisions of the Charter and address those shortcomings in the next evaluation;

36.  Underlines that a growing number of European citizens have suffered terrorist attacks in a country that is not their own, and therefore urgently calls for the establishment of protocols in the Member States to help non-national Europeans in the event of a terrorist attack, in line with Directive (EU) 2017/541 on combating terrorism;

37.  Proposes to the Member States that they establish a European public holiday on 9 May in order to reinforce a European feeling of belonging and create space for civic movements and activities;

38.  Reiterates its call on the Commission to come forward with a proposal for the implementation of Parliament’s recommendations on an EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights;

39.  Strongly believes that the principle of non-discrimination is a cornerstone of European citizenship and both a general principle and a fundamental value of EU law according to Article 2 TEU; urges the Council to conclude the adoption of the horizontal EU Anti-discrimination Directive, in order to further guarantee fundamental rights within the Union by means of the adoption of concrete EU legislation which would fully implement Articles 18 and 19 TFEU in a horizontal approach; regrets the fact that the Anti-discrimination Directive still remains blocked by the Council, a decade after the publication of the Commission proposal;

40.  Recalls the obligation laid down in the Treaties to accede to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR); calls on the Commission to take the necessary steps to finalise the Union’s accession to the ECHR, and for accession to the European Social Charter;

41.  Emphasises that quality civic education for all ages (formal and informal) is crucial for the confident exercise of citizens’ democratic rights and the proper functioning of a democratic society; notes that only continuous educational effort can ensure increased participation in elections at the European level and enhance intercultural understanding and solidarity in Europe, as well as overcoming discrimination, prejudice, and gender inequality; recommends the use of Articles 165, 166 and 167 TFUE as a legal basis for exploring the potential of education, vocational training and youth policies;

42.  Recalls the contribution of political parties at European level to ‘forming European political awareness and to expressing the will of the citizens of the Union’ (Article 10 (4) TEU); calls, therefore, for individual citizens of the EU to be given the opportunity to apply directly for membership in political parties at European level;

43.  Recalls the need to promote the European dimension of the European parliamentary elections with view to contributing to Parliament’s potential future work by exercising its right of legislative initiative under Article 225 TFUE; calls on the Commission and the Member States to strengthen their efforts to promote citizens’ rights among European citizens, including those related to voting rights; underlines that better and more focused information on European policies and on the impact of EU legislation on citizens’ daily lives would improve the turnout in the European elections; recalls the need to promote participation in the European elections by increasing the visibility of European political parties; reiterates that promoting participation in the European elections is a shared responsibility of citizens, Member States and the EU; emphasises the need to inform citizens about the recent reform of the electoral law and the Spitzenkandidat process; underlines the political importance and symbolism of this figure in terms of reinforcing EU citizenship;

44.  Recalls that the European Parliament is the parliament of the whole Union, and that it plays an essential role in ensuring the legitimacy of the EU political institutions through making them accountable by ensuring proper parliamentary scrutiny; insists therefore that Parliament’s legislative powers and control rights must be guaranteed, consolidated and strengthened;

45.  Recalls the Commission guidance on the application of Union data protection law in the electoral context and its communication of 12 September 2018 on securing free and fair elections in Europe (COM(2018)0637); calls for every effort to be made in order to ensure elections free from any abusive interference; underlines the need for a defined EU policy to tackle anti-European propaganda and targeted misinformation;

46.  Encourages the Commission to step up the promotion of democratic participation by intensifying its dialogue with citizens, enhancing citizens’ understanding of the role of EU legislation in their daily lives, and underlining their right to vote in and stand for election at local, national and European level;

47.  Invites the Commission to exploit, in this regard, social media and digital tools with a special emphasis on increasing the participation of young people and persons with disabilities; calls for the development and implementation of e-democracy tools, such as online platforms, to involve citizens more directly in EU democratic life, thus fostering their engagement;

48.  Supports the production and dissemination of press and multimedia materials in all official EU languages that focus on enhancing EU citizens’ awareness of their rights and strengthening their ability to enforce these rights effectively in each Member State;

49.  Considers that, given the increasing impact of social media on the lives of citizens, the European institutions should continue to develop new mechanisms and public policies that are designed to protect the fundamental rights of individuals in the digital environment; stresses the need for secure, fair and transparent sharing of citizens’ data; stresses that free media and access to a plurality of opinions are an indispensable part of a healthy democracy and that media literacy is crucial and should be developed at an early age;

50.  Encourages the use of Article 25 TFEU to take measures that could facilitate the exercise of European citizenship on a daily basis;

51.  Asks the Commission, under Article 25 TFEU, to take into account the development of the rights of EU citizenship in secondary legislation and jurisprudence in the next Citizenship report, and to propose a roadmap to bundle together all these advances to formally take account of the development of the Union in this area;

52.  Underlines that the final objective of this exercise, following the procedure of Article 25 TFEU, would be to take concrete initiatives towards the consolidation of 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 of Fundamental Rights, alongside the social rights set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights and the values established by Article 2 of the 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 and solidarity, equality and non-discrimination, which would be taken into account in a future or eventual reform of the Treaties;

o   o

53.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

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(13) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 28.
(14) OJ C 263, 25.7.2018, p. 98.
(15) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 83.
(16) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0282.
(17) OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 89.
(18) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0226.
(19) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2018)0449.
(20) For instance, Judgment of the Court of Justice of 8 March 2011, Gerardo Ruiz Zambrano v Office national de l’emploi (ONEM), C-34/09, ECLI:EU:C:2011:124, Judgment of the Court of Justice of 2 March 2010, Janko Rottman v Freistaat Bayern, C-135/08, ECLI:EU:C:2010:104, Judgment of the Court of Justice of 5 May 2011, Shirley McCarthy v Secretary of State for the Home Department, C-434/09, ECLI:EU:C:2011:277 and Judgment of the Court of Justice of 15 November 2011, Murat Dereci and Others v Bundesministerium für Inneres, C-256/11, ECLI:EU:C:2011:734.

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