On November 1, 1993 with the entry into force of the Treaty on European Union, some 350 million Europeans acquired a new de jure citizenship status. This is because the Treaty on the European Union inserted into the EC Treaty a new article 8.
Through the Treaty on European Union the Member States therefore introduced a citizenship common to the nationals of their countries and designed to 'strengthen the protection of their rights and interests'.
Generally speaking, the issue of European citizenship is not addressed directly. It is approached more from the standpoint of fundamental rights which would enable greater substance to be given to the concept of citizenship, or of related topics such as transparency.
The European Union is based on the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. The citizens of the Union rightly demand to be able to benefit fully from the freedom which the development of the Union has made possible and, at the same time, that their personal security be protected.
Articles 8a to 8e of the Treaty on European Union list a number of specific rights of citizens. Since citizenship is a developing concept, the Treaty made provision for the extension of citizens' rights. However, although the TEU does not formally provide for the revision of Article 8a to 8e at the 1996 IGC, the notions of citizenship, democracy, transparency and so forth will probably be discussed.
The European 'citizens' rights' listed in the TEU are:
1. European Parliament
1.1. Resolution of 17 May 1995 on the functioning of the Treaty on European Union with a view to the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference
7.Greater substance should be provided for the concept of EU citizenship through development of the special rights linked to EU citizenship, notably by means of:
In addition, the Treaty should contain a clear rejection of racism, xenophobia, sexism, discrimination on grounds of a person's sexual orientation, anti-Semitism, revisionism and all forms of discrimination and guarantee adequate legal protection against discrimination for all individuals resident within the EU.
8.In order to develop the means of expression for citizens at European level, Article 138a of the Treaty on European political parties must be applied and developed.
1.2. Opinion of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Citizens' Rights
9. Union citizenship should be enhanced and should go considerably beyond the civic and electoral provisions now contained in the Treaty on European Union. European citizenship must imply that the European Union guarantees the protection of all fundamental rights contained in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the implementation of common policies in the fields of justice and home affairs. Third country nationals residing in the European Union should be able easily to attain European citizenship. [...]
1.3. Resolution on the agenda for the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference with a view to the Madrid European Council
6. Urges the European Council to define a mandate for the IGC which takes account of the priorities established by Parliament in its resolution [of 17 May 1995] referred to above, namely:
- to give political substance to citizenship of the European Union, to ensure that citizens and social operators have genuine rights to be informed and consulted and real powers of control, and to guarantee respect for both fundamental rights and human rights;
1.4 European Parliament, resolution of 13.03.96 on the European Council in Turin
C. Whereas it is absolutely vital for the IGC to meet the demands of citizens for a Europe with a better balance in its common policies, a comprehensive definition of European citizenship, an effective internal security police, a visible foreign policy serving the interests of peace, greater openness and transparency in the Union, more democratic and effective rules and procedures and transparent financial management that guards against frauds [...];
E. Whereas the " strengthening of social and economic cohesion" and the "introduction of a citizenship of the Union", as provided for in Article B of the Common Provisions of the EU Treaty, cannot be achieved without strengthening the cultural dimension of the Union;
2.I [...]( the European Parliament) reaffirms and reiterates its aforementioned resolution of 17 May 1995 as the basis of its position on the IGC; considers that there are a number of key priorities which need to be successfully tackled at the IGC if the outcome is to be worth ratifying:
[...] an improved definition of European citizenship and enhanced respect for human rights through extension of specific rights for European citizens within the Treaty, the strengthening of fundamental human rights and the principles of equal treatment [...]
4.1[...] European citizenship should have precise legal substance; the rights and obligations affecting European citizenship should be consolidated in the first chapter of the Treaty under the heading " Declaration of basic rights and provisions governing the exercise of the rights of European citizens and residents" and such on the basis of the Declaration of fundamental rights and freedoms adopted by the European Parliament on 12 April 1989 (...); this new chapter in the Treaty should make it clear that European citizenship gives the citizens new rights and obligations towards the Union, and does not replace national citizenship but complements it.
1.5 European Parliament, resolution of 19.06.96 on the Florence European Council and the intergovernmental conference
3. ( the European Parliament) believes that public concern is focused on all those subjects which are conducive to helping the Union on its way to constructively developing suitable solutions for the key areas of European policy: the institution of a genuine European citizenship,..., employment and social protection, transparency, the democratization and effectiveness of the institutions and the European Unions presence on the world stage[...];
1.6Note to the President of the European Parliament and the Secretary-General on the views of the European Parliament in connection with the IGC and the current state of the negotiations
Following the presentation by the Presidency of the general outline for a draft revision of the Treaties, and pursuant to the order of priorities drawn up at the outset in the European Parliament resolutions of 17 May 1995 and 13 March 1996, classified by subject in accordance with the terms of reference of the IGC contained in the conclusions of the European Council in Turin on 29 March 1996, the present situation, as regards European citizenship and fundamental rights can be broadly described as follows:
Introduction into the treaty of a single chapter on European citizenship which also includes fundamental rights. Currently there is only a consensus between the EP and the Member States on the non-replacement of national citizenship by EU citizenship. At the same time, the position of several Member States opposed to any strengthening of Union citizenship seems to be gaining ground.
Weakness according to the EP: The global approach which the EP wants is not really on the negotiating table. In addition, the only proposal to amend Article 8 involves no new rights and, in particular, there is a tendency towards the status quo as regards the present unanimity rule for adding to the rights of European citizens (Article 8e).
As regards the development of political citizenship, there is a division of opinion on the strengthening of European political parties, the right to vote in regional elections and stand as candidate. The status of European associations and extension of the right to petition the EP were also mentioned.
Weakness according to the EP: No results yet.
Conclusion: The Presidency's draft satisfies a number of EP demands in this area, but there are many more which are inadequate and incomplete, even ignored.
2.1 Report on the functioning of the TEU
Bringing Europe closer to the citizen has proved necessary over the years and particularly during the TEU ratification procedures, to increase public support for European integration.
[...] The Council has taken the decisions necessary for the implementation of the Treaty provisions on Union citizenship, which grant the nationals of Member States additional rights and protections but without in any way replacing national citizenship. The necessary provisions have been adopted for the right to vote and the protection of citizens abroad... (1) The legal framework therefore exists, even though the benefit of these new rights is not yet totally effective for all the citizens.
8. In compliance with the deadlines laid down in Article 8b of the EC Treaty despite real difficulties, provisions have been adopted to ensure that in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament every citizen is entitled to vote and to stand for election in the Member Sate where he resides, under the same conditions as nationals of that State. [...]
9. Article 8c of the EC Treaty provides that every citizen of the Union shall, in the territory of a third country in which the Member State of which he is a national is not represented, be entitled to protection by the consular authorities of any Member State, on the same conditions as nationals of that State. The conditions under which such protection is exercised have formed the subject of guidelines agreed between the Member States which, although still incomplete, mark an important step in the implementation of this right.
10. Article 138e of the EC Treaty makes provision for an Ombudsman, who would receive complaints from citizens concerning instances of maladministration in the activities of the Community Institutions or bodies. He shall perform his duties in complete independence and this must be maintained.
11. Article 8a of the EC Treaty confirms the basic principle that every citizen of the Union has the right to move and reside within the territory of any Member State. The actual implementation of this principle - closely linked with the idea of membership of the Union - has been widely put into effect by the Community, but the conditions are not yet all present for the principle of freedom of movement to be fully applied between all the Member States in complete respect for the security of the Union.
12. European citizenship as thus constituted is a developing process, Article 8e of the EC Treaty offering the possibility of supplementing the rights of the citizen.
(1) It should be noted that on 25 April 1994, pursuant to Article 228(6) of the EC Treaty, the Council asked for the opinion of the Court of Justice on the compatibility with the EC Treaty of an agreement providing for accession of the European Community to the European convention on Human Rights
2.2 Turin European Council of 29 March 1996
"A Union closer to the citizens"
The European Council has defined the Union's programme to the end of the century. The Intergovernmental Conference, which today begins considering the revision of the treaties with a view to creating an ever closer Union between the peoples of Europe, is the first step in this process.
The European Council asks the IGC to base its work on the fact that the citizens are at the core of the European construction: the Union has the imperative duty to respond concretely to their needs and concerns.
As the Member States are committed to respect for human rights, democratic values, equality and non-discrimination, and the Union is a community of shared values, the IGC should consider whether and how far it will be possible to strengthen these fundamental rights and improve the safeguarding of them[...].
In an area of free movement for people, goods, capital and services such as the Union, the exercise of these rights according to the Treaty provisions must be accompanied by adequate protection. A strengthened control of the Union's external frontiers shall contribute to it.[...]
In this context for the Union and the Member States the fight against unemployment is the priority task. The promotion of employment makes national structural and economic policies a matter of common interest.
The IGC could also address the question of the compatibility between competition and the principles of universal access to essential services in the citizen's interest.[...]
A healthy and sustainable environment is also a major concern for European citizens. The IGC will have to examine how to make protection of the environment more effective and consistent at Union level, in order to ensure sustainable development.
The IGC must ensure better application and enforcing of the principle of subsidiarity, to provide transparency and openness in the Union's work, and to consider whether it would be possible to simplify and consolidate the Treaties.
2.3 Report from Presidency to the Florence European Council of 17.06.96
The Presidency considers it to be generally accepted that the Treaty should clarify the nature of the relationship between Union citizenship and national citizenship, making it clear that Union citizenship is additional to and not a substitute for national citizenship.
Suggestions have been made for enriching the content of citizenship by the addition of certain rights to those currently appearing in the second part of the EC Treaty.
Finally, in the Presidency's view, the initial discussions suggest that the procedure in the second paragraph of Article 8e of the TEC for adding to citizenship rights should be maintained.
2.4 Florence European Council of 21 and 22 June 1996
Meeting in Florence on 21 and 22 June 1996, the European Council adopted its guidelines on citizenship and fundamental rights.
In this context, the European Council called on the Presidency to prepare a general outline for a draft revision of the treaties, aiming in particular to bring the Union closer to its citizens by:
2.5 Approach suggested by the Presidency on 8 October 1996
On the question of citizenship, this document suggests an approach based as far as possible on textual proposals and taking account of the previous work of the representatives within the IGC.
This approach encompasses three elements:
I the definition of the concept of citizenship of the Union
IIstrengthening its content in the Treaty
IIIthe procedure allowing additions to the rights (Article 8e).
To clarify the nature of the relationship between citizenship of the Union and national citizenship, Article 8(1) of the ECT should be amended as follows:
'[...] Citizenship of the Union is complementary to national citizenship and does not replace it'.
Article 8b of the ECT could be amended to extend the benefit of this provision to local elections other than municipal elections. A provision could also be included giving European citizens the right to vote in any local referendums organized in a Member State.
Various other specific ideas to extend the actual content of the rights deriving from citizenship of the Union were examined by the representatives.
The possibilities are listed below for information:
I - Right to set up political parties at European level.
II- Creation of a European voluntary humanitarian service
III- Right to ask the Union institutions directly to take measures
IV- Right to education taking account of common European values.
Finally, the procedure provided for under Article 8e should be maintained as it stands.
2.6. General outline of the Presidency for a draft revision of the treaties (Dublin II).
In this document, submitted on 5 December 1996 at the request of the European Council in Florence, the Presidency believes that 'making the Union more relevant and comprehensible to its citizens is a major aim which runs through the work of the Conference'.
The first section of the draft contains provisions on fundamental rights and non- discrimination, including a system of sanctions against states which systematically violate fundamental rights.
The second section deals with a number of issues affecting the citizens in their day-to-day life and influencing the way they see the Union, and proposes several amendments to the treaty.
'They want the Union to play the role which it must play in certain areas while leaving for action at the level of Member States matters which are more properly addressed at that level. Their citizenship of the Union complements and does not replace their national citizenship'.
3.1. Report on the operation of the TEU
In its report the Commission believes that the first 'challenge' of the future Intergovernmental Conference is: 'to make Europe the business of every citizen'. For the Commission the Treaty objective of 'a Community closer to the citizen' is not a mere empty formula, but an overriding principle.
The Treaty makes citizenship an evolving concept'. The Commission recommends developing it to the full. Moreover, although the task of building Europe is centred on democracy and human rights, citizens of the Union have at this stage no fundamental text which they can invoke as a summary of their rights and duties.
The fundamental rights:
1.The right to freedom of movement and residence
8.Citizens of the Union have not been given general rights of freedom of movement and residence, but subject to 'limits and conditions' laid down by Community law.
9.The Union citizens' right to freedom of movement must therefore be seen in the context of the establishment of the 'area without internal frontiers in which the free movement of ... persons ... is ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Treaty' (Article 7a, added by the Single Act).
2.The right to vote and stand for election
11. All citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals are now entitled to vote and stand as candidates in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament. [...]
3.Diplomatic and consular protection
Where the state of origin of a citizen of the Union is not represented in a third country, he/she can now rely on the protection of the diplomatic and consular authorities of the other Member States.
16. There are [...] provisos attached to putting this new right into practice. The 'guidelines' which are supposed to bring it about are merely non-binding instructions. They are also incomplete, as they only deal with consular protection, moreover without covering all the fields listed in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. In particular, these 'guidelines' have received little publicity, so that by and large the citizens of the Union are unaware of them. Lastly, there is no clear indication of how a citizen can avail him- or herself of this right to protection.
4. Right of petition and appeal to the Ombudsman.
[...] The citizen's right to petition the European Parliament is now in the Treaty, while previously it was implemented through its Rules of Procedure. The possibility of appeal to the Ombudsman increases the citizen's capacity to react to any maladministration.
5. Overall assessment
18. Generally speaking, the introduction of the concept of European citizenship, which does not replace but is in addition to national citizenship, carries immense potential. Its purpose is to deepen European citizens' sense of belonging to the European Union and make that sense more tangible by conferring on them the rights associated with it.
The most noteworthy and visible application of the concept is the right to vote and stand as a candidate in European and municipal elections. However, the ambitious notion written into the Treaty has not yet produced measures conferring really effective rights: the citizen enjoys only fragmented, incomplete rights which are themselves subject to restrictive conditions. In that sense, the concept of citizenship is not yet put into practice in a way that lives up to the individual's expectations.
The Commission thinks this gap must be filled, more especially since such an instrument would constitute a powerful means of promoting equal opportunities and combating racism and xenophobia.
3.2. Other Commission initiatives
The Commission has also taken the following measures in areas relating to the concept of European citizenship:
3.3 Commission Opinion, 28.02.96
A people's Europe
7. Ordinary people must feel actively involved. The concept of European citizenship enshrined in the Treaty on European Union complements national citizenship.
This concept of citizenship has many aspects; it should be developed further:
9. [...]The Union should signal its espousal of the values (human rights) even more clearly, either directly in the Treaty or in signing the Convention itself.[...]
The Conference should also incorporate in the Treaty provisions banning discrimination of any kind- particularly on the basis of sex, thereby extending the provisions on equal pay, and condemning racism and xenophobia.
3.4 Commission Report of 3 July 1996 on the scope of the codecision procedure
The Commission considers that the extension of codecision is a natural step in the process of enhancing the democratic legitimacy of the Union, a constant of European integration. On purely democratic grounds, codecision should be extended to all the Community's legislative activity.
B. 1. This approach would mean using the codecision procedure in the following areas:
- citizenship (currently assent procedure, e. g. right to move and reside in other Member States, or consultation, e.g. right to take part in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament), on the contrary the possible new rights; (Article 8e) would remain subject to the consultation procedure; [...]
Annex 3: New areas for codecision:
Finally, the Commission points out that extending the scope of the codecision procedure is also dependent on simplification. 'This point should also be examined by the Conference'.
4. Reflection Group
Reflection Group's report
The Reflection Group considers that one of the key elements, both to justify the reform of the Treaty and to ensure the success of the conference, is to place the citizen at the centre of the European venture by endeavouring to meet his expectations and concerns.
'Serving the citizens' interests and perspectives for the future should be the main guiding principle for the envisaged reform'.
Essential aspects of this task include respect for human rights and fundamental rights, non-discrimination, and clarification of the rights and obligations of both citizens of the Union and third-country nationals in the Union. Furthermore, citizens' concerns about security, employment, the environment, transparency and subsidiarity should be properly taken into account by the Union.
The Group notes that introduction of the principle of citizenship of the Union in Article B, third indent, of the TEU, and its development in Articles 8 to 8e was viewed differently in the various Member States. The broad majority of the Group is in favour of its development by means of a deepening of the specific rights of citizens of the Union already included in the Treaty (achieving unrestricted freedom of movement and residence, completing diplomatic and consular protection in third countries), the inclusion of new rights and the simplification of the articles of the Treaty which relate to citizenship. Citizens should be granted a specific right to information on Union matters and on how the Union functions. Other members of the Group maintain that citizenship of the Union is perceived as a threat to national identity in some Member States and do not think it appropriate to develop either the substance of the concept or the concept itself. However, the Group suggests that the Treaty should indicate in an even clearer manner that citizenship of the Union does not replace national citizenship.
Some members of the Group drew attention to the fact that abolishing the use of passports for the crossing of internal borders could help to enhance citizens' feeling of belonging.
The Group also discussed the idea of voluntary service involving the establishment of a European 'peace corps' for humanitarian actions. Some members proposed that the peace corps be given the task of helping Member States to deal with natural disasters.
Finally, the Group considers that 'the Union is not and does not want to be a super-state. Yet it is far more than a market. It is a unique design based on common values'.
5.Economic and Social Committee
In discharging its consultative duties and, inter alia, through the use of its right of initiative, the ESC has often guided and even encouraged the Commission to draft proposals to respond to the changing needs of European society. 'The Committee shall work together with the Commission in organizing consultations prior to the submission of proposals'.
In this context the ESC has proposed amendments to Articles 8a, 8b and 8e.
6. Member States
In its 'Policy note from the government to parliament on the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference' the government states its support for the idea of providing greater substance for the concept of citizenship by fleshing out the Treaty provisions relating thereto. It is prepared to consider certain proposals for the extension of citizens' rights, such as:
In its 'Agenda for Europe', the Danish Government says it is in favour of some fundamental rights being dissociated from the concept of European citizenship. This could possibly be enlarged upon by the incorporation of parts of the Declaration of Human Rights, particularly freedom of expression, the right of property and the right to a clean environment. Such rights could be included in the sections on social policy and employment or in a new chapter, or even in the section on European citizenship.
In a second document, entitled 'Bases for discussions at the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference', the Danish Government says it is extremely important for the IGC to address the practical concerns of European citizens. The gap between the people and the Community must be closed. The Danish Government therefore intends to work towards bringing Europe closer to the people, achieving greater transparency and simplifying the Treaty. It goes without saying that the Edinburgh decision regarding inter alia European citizenship cannot be amended without Denmark's consent, and only then by referendum.
The report of the Conference of Ministers of the Länder of 23 and 24 May 1995 states that European citizenship must be given greater substance by means of improvements in the following areas:
The discussion paper on furthering Community responsibility for policy in the field of justice and home affairs with a view to the 1996 IGC, published by the steering committee of the CDU/CSU Group in the Bundestag, mentions the importance of democratic equality for all citizens of the Union in respect of the electoral law governing elections to the European Parliament.
Furthermore, fundamental rights must be standardized to the greatest possible extent in a 'people's Europe'.
As regards European citizenship, subsidiarity, democracy and transparency, the German Government also proposes that the subsidiarity principle be incorporated in a protocol annexed to the treaty.
According to the document entitled 'Towards a People's Europe - democracy and development', Athens believes in a citizens' Europe, and therefore opposes any notion of a two-speed Europe. Greece, it is stressed, will not accept any proposals contrary to the principle of equal rights and duties for all the peoples of Europe, particularly in the economic field.
In the document ' Towards a democratic European Union with a political and social content' Greece says that the European Union has lost the trust of a broad fringe of European citizens, who have begun to question the process of European integration while disputing the value of some institutions, policies and procedures.
To regain the support of its citizens and national communities as a whole, the European Union would have to take measures contributing substantially to the resolution of their problems and allowing the citizens to play an active role in the process of integration. To this end, the revised treaty should contain provisions designed to:
I - increase the references in the Treaty to European citizenship by stepping up in particular the catalogue of associated rights;
II - strengthen and increase the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;
III -add to the Treaty a catalogue of fundamental social rights as listed in the European Social Charter and the protocol on social policy;
IV - introduce special provisions into the Treaty banning any form of discrimination and explicitly condemning racism and xenophobia;
V - strengthen the Treaty provisions on equality between men and women and introduce new provisions covering special measures in favour of the disabled and other disadvantaged social categories.
The memorandum entitled 'The 1996 Intergovernmental Conference: bases for a discussion' establishes a link between citizenship of the Union and fundamental rights. The document sets out two options:
In the document ' Elements of a Spanish position at the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference' of 28 March 1996, as regards the issue of Union citizenship Spain is in favour of developing it by deepening the specific rights already provided for in the Treaty (achieving unrestricted freedom of movement and residence, completing diplomatic and consular protection in third countries) and the inclusion of new rights, as well as by simplifying the Treaty articles relating to citizenship.
In particular, Spain considers the citizen should be accorded a specific right to information on the affairs and operation of the Union.
In a ' Memorandum on France's guidelines for the IGC', the French Government proposes that the priority should be consolidating the democratic basis of the European Union by bringing it closer to its citizens. In general it considers that the Unions must be more comprehensible for the citizen, to whose needs it should always be subordinated.
In its White Paper on foreign policy: ' External challenges and opportunity' of 26 March 1996, Ireland is in favour of reinforcing certain Treaty provisions on European citizenship, for example by introducing certain rights or anti-discriminatory provisions.
In its 'Statement on the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference' the Italian Government maintains that individual citizens will understand the Union if it is built with their consent, if they grasp the aspects which affect them most closely and if they feel that their everyday lives are influenced by Community legislation with its rules and safeguards: freedom of movement and the single currency (the most familiar aspect of the economy, which people use to buy food and other daily necessities and which serves as the yardstick for work and production, wealth and poverty). Bearing in mind the lessons learned from the Maastricht ratification process, the new conference must base European integration on a clarity of purpose and close, ongoing contacts between individual citizens and the bodies representing them, starting with the national parliaments.
In the document ' Position of the Italian Government on the Intergovernmental Conference on revision of the treaties', Italy considers that as regards the aspects connected with relations between the citizens and the Union, one of the priorities must be the development of the 'citizenship' dimension of the Treaty by the inclusion of other civic and social rights, and affirmation of the fact that European citizenship is additional to national citizenship and does not replace it.
In this connection, the Italian Government and the Austrian Government submitted to the Group of Representatives to the Intergovernmental Conference (on 3 October 1996) a Report on citizenship, to amend the articles of the Treaty. (For description of these changes see Annex).
In its 'Memorandum on the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference' the Luxembourg Government calls for the preamble to the new treaty to refer explicitly to the protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of European citizens, equality between men and women and the fight against racism and xenophobia.
In this connection the Treaty must provide for the possibility of sanctions extending as far as the suspension of certain rights attached to membership.
In its report on 'Institutional reform in the European Union' the Netherlands Government states that the European Union must adopt rules giving citizens extensive access to information together with appropriate means of redress.
Finally, in the ' Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg Memorandum for the IGC', the Dutch Government considers that the European Union, its Member States and its institutions must protect human rights with sanctions in the case of violations.
In an interview published in the newspaper 'Público', the Portuguese Prime Minister, Mr Cavaco Silva, said that the reform should focus on citizens' problems. He also put forward the idea of a citizens' charter establishing an area without internal borders with equal rights and duties for all Europeans.
In the document ' Portugal and the Intergovernmental Conference on revision of the Union Treaty', Portugal considers that Union citizenship as created by the TEU is additional and complementary to citizenship of each Member State, without prejudice to the rights and responsibilities of every individual vis-à-vis his country of origin. The value of rallying the European citizens around the integration process seems to justify the increased importance accorded to Union citizenship during the revision of the Treaty, particularly as regards social and economic rights. The awareness of the fact that membership of the Union gives the citizens added value will no doubt contribute towards greater involvement on their part in the European project. For this reason Portugal supports the idea of providing in the revised Treaty for a European citizenship charter:
Portugal also believes it would be highly appropriate to strengthen the current provisions of the Treaty relating to human rights.
In its 'Guidelines on the probable topics of the 1996 IGC' the Austrian Government expresses the view that Community responsibility for civil protection should be added to the TEU. In addition, the fundamental rights of Union citizens should be guaranteed, in particular as regards data protection (third pillar). Finally, the Austrian Government proposes that governments be required to investigate any action to combat racism and xenophobia and to draw up minimum requirements for protection against racist and xenophobic activities.
In the document ' Fundamental positions of Austria for the Intergovernmental Conference' the Austrian Federal Government supports the idea of Union citizenship, but wishes to make changes to the Treaty articles on citizenship, since the objective of reinforcing the feeling of belonging to the Union (pursued by Articles 8a to 8e of the EC Treaty) has not been achieved to the degree expected In this connection the Austrian Government and the Italian Government submitted to the Group of Representatives to the Intergovernmental Conference (on 3 October 1996) a contribution on Union citizenship.
According to the Austrian Government, some of the new specific rights provided for by Articles 8a to 8e of the EC Treaty (in particular right to vote and stand in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament, and diplomatic and consular protection in third countries) were not substantive enough and the concept has such has not been successfully implanted in the collective consciousness.
Austria is open to the continued development of European citizenship. In this connection, measures to promote the full realization of freedom of movement should be considered. In parallel with the extension of existing rights, in reworking the text of the Treaty consideration should be given to bringing together the provisions which confer rights on the citizens and which currently appear in different parts of the Treaty, so that the concept of Union citizenship will gain in significance.
The Treaty should also state clearly that Union citizenship is merely complementary to nationality but is in no case a replacement for it.
In its 'Memorandum concerning Finnish points of view with regard to the 1996 IGC of the European Union' the Finnish Government sees European citizenship as a means of promoting democracy and the rule of law in the Union and furthering unity in Europe. A clearer definition of the concept of European citizenship in the Treaty might provide a means of guaranteeing the principles of transparency, democracy, the rule of law, equality, social justice and respect for human rights.
Furthermore, the Conference should consider ways of extending the social rights and responsibilities of the European citizens. According to the Finnish Government, one key principle is that citizenship of a Member State is a pre-condition for Union citizenship.
In the ' Report of the Finnish Government to the national Parliament' of 27 February 1996 regarding the positions of Finland in the run-up to the IGC, and in the order followed by the Reflection Group, the government first deals with citizenship of the Union. It deals first with the promotion of European values and makes reference first to fundamental rights.
As regards citizenship of the Union, the government is in favour of completing the existing provisions on the subject by introducing new rights associated with the concept of Union citizenship.
In its 'Written statement to parliament' the Swedish Government points out that the democratic structures lying outside the political sphere tend to be left out of the debate on a 'people's Europe'. Discussions on the issue of democratic legitimacy tend to be restricted to the breakdown of powers between the EU's political institutions and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.
Because of the Swedish Government's long tradition of openness, Sweden also believes that the most effective way of increasing the degree of openness and transparency in the European institutions is to give the citizens access to the documents forming the basis of the debates and decisions.
6.15. United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom White Paper on the IGC: ' An association of nations', as regards the issue of European citizenship, human rights and non-discrimination, the British Government does not think that the European Union is an appropriate for the maintenance of fundamental rights nor for the introduction of a general clause banning discrimination on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age or disability. In general terms, the British Government also expresses concern at the possibility that the creation of new rights would result in the need to establish reciprocal rights, something which in its view cannot happen given that the European Union is not properly speaking a state.
6.16. Joint declaration by the German and Italian Foreign Ministers
This declaration was issued following the meeting between the German and Italian Foreign Minsters held in Italy on 15 July 1995. With regard to citizenship, the declaration proposes the codification of fundamental rights and freedoms, whose safekeeping would be entrusted to the Court of Justice.
6.17. Joint declaration by the French President and the German Chancellor
In this declaration, issued on 6 December 1995, the two parties state that, in general, the Union should be made easier to understand for individual citizens and more sensitive to their needs.
7. Council of Europe
In its 'Memorandum on the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference the Council of Europe tackles the issue of the role which European citizenship should play. The question is whether citizens' rights should be extended to third-country nationals, particularly with regard to:
This issue must be considered from the standpoint of both legislative policy and existing law, with a distinction being made between:
8.Institut für Europäische Politik
Citizenship of the Union: options, recommendations and suggestions regarding the protection and extension of Union citizenship with a view to the 1996 Intergovernmental Conference on revising the Maastricht Treaty
This study on citizenship commissioned by the European Parliament's Directorate- General for Research states that European citizenship is necessary, in that the European Union is already well integrated and decisions taken by the European institutions affect individual citizens. None the less, although increasingly affected by Community decisions, these citizens still have a nationalistic approach to national matters.
Although many still feel that European citizenship 'is lacking in content', one cannot ignore the possible benefits of stronger provisions on European citizenship:
1. Amending and extending existing citizens' rights
2. Introducing new rights
3. Introducing citizens' duties
4. Amending and establishing other individual rights
5. Other proposals
There are three possible ways of incorporating these new elements into the Treaty:
1.Minimalist strategy - procedure set out in Article 8e of the EC Treaty:
This could consist of strict compliance with the procedures set out in Article 8e of the EC Treaty. Parliament's proposals for the introduction of new rights or the extension of existing rights would in this instance be treated as a suggestion that the Commission use its right of initiative under Article 8e in accordance with the wishes expressed by Parliament.
An alternative to this procedure would be an initiative by Parliament under the procedure provided for in Article 138b, which would give this subject a certain symbolic value and, furthermore, prompt the Commission to submit its proposals within an acceptable time frame.
2.Maximalist strategy - procedure set out in Article N of the TEU:
The European Parliament could attempt to add to the agenda for the Conference the topic 'European citizenship', or simply 'citizens' rights', together with new rights in the form of coordination and extension of existing rights in the amended treaty.
At the same time, during the negotiations priority could be given to some of the new elements. Two sets of proposals should thus be given priority treatment:
As with the procedures in the other areas of the Treaty (for example, completion of the common market) an attempt could be made to reach a consensus at the Intergovernmental Conference on a general concept of Union citizenship, which would simply lay down the main principles and the objectives to be attained on the basis of a pre-determined timetable.
Preparing for 1996 and a larger European Union: principles and priorities
There are no formal plans for the inclusion of this topic on the agenda for the 1996 IGC. It should be discussed at the conference however, because this would increase public interest in how the EU institutions operate and because the enlargement of the EU to take in the CEECs provides the opportunity for a debate on the appropriateness of incorporated a declaration of human rights.
One further issue should be considered: Article F makes respect for democratic principles a criterion for accession to the EU. What would happen if, following a change of government, a Member State were to infringe these principles? What steps would the EU take? Economic sanctions? Military action (by analogy with the American Civil War in the 19th century)? Or expulsion? Such questions cannot be avoided.
10. Federal Trust
Building the Union
The EU should accede to the European Convention in order to give greater substance to the guarantee that citizens' rights will be enforced. The need for accession is all the more urgent in view of the fact that enlargement of the EU will bring in a number of countries which have had a questionable human rights record in the past. Like the current Member States, such countries must be profoundly convinced that the EU is founded on strict respect for human rights.
Contribution on Union citizenship submitted by the Austrian and Italian delegations to the Group of Representatives to the Intergovernmental Conference
Every natural or legal person shall have the right of access to documents held or published by the Community institutions pursuant to the principles established and within the limits laid down by the Council, acting on a proposal by the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament. The implementing provisions shall be adopted by each of the institutions concerned under its own rules of procedure.*
* As regards transparency in the second and third pillars, special conditions would have to be inserted in the EU Treaty.
Article 8g (replacing Article 138a)
Every citizen of the Union shall, in the territory of a third country in which the Member State of which he is a national is not represented, be entitled to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any Member State on the same conditions as the nationals of that State.
Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to benefit from an education which takes account of the common heritage of European civilization and to learn at school a Union language other than his mother tongue.
No provision in this section may be interpreted as implying for an institution, a Member State, a group or a person the right to engage in an activity or carry out an act seeking to refuse the rights set out in this section or a restriction of them going beyond what is provided for in this section.
The Commission shall report to the European Parliament, to the Council and to the Economic and Social Committee before 31 December 1993 and then every three years on the application of the provisions of this Part. This report shall take account of the development of the Union.
On this basis, and without prejudice to the other provisions of this Treaty, the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, may adopt provisions to strengthen or to add to the rights laid down in this Part, which it shall recommend to the Member States for adoption in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.
For further information concerning this briefing, please contact:
Mr. J. Javier FERNANDEZ FERNANDEZ, DG IV, or Mrs. Maria Cristina FONTI
Luxembourg, tel.: (352) 4300 2758 - Strasbourg, tel.: (33) 388 17 2407.
E-mail address: JFernandez@europarl.europa.eu
European Parliament, last revised: 1st July 1997