A European public holiday on 9 May and stronger political rights for EU citizens
- EU citizenship linked with European identity and fundamental rights
- An end to discrimination against EU citizens on the basis of nationality, entry and residence
- Substantive rights to extend beyond mobility, especially on political engagement
Plenary resolution asks for the fulfilment of the potential of EU citizenship as a response to some of the most important challenges that the EU is facing.
A non-legislative resolution adopted by the European Parliament provides an assessment of EU citizenship, as well as ways to strengthen it. MEPs adopted the text in Strasbourg on Tuesday with 459 votes to 170 and 49 abstentions.
EU citizenship as a cherished privilege
MEPs confirmed that the internal issues that the EU is facing are both a cause and a result of an identity crisis relating to EU citizenship, and called for increased awareness and the expansion of the rights of European citizens. The resolution proposes the establishment of Europe Day on May 9 as a public holiday in all member states. Additional proposals revolve around highlighting the Parliament’s achievements and the “lead candidate” process. MEPs also call for a strengthening of educational and exchange programmes that can solidify a common sense of belonging, like Erasmus+, the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme and the introduction of EU-related subjects in school curricula.
From freedom of movement to political rights
Even with an EU passport barriers persist, most notably in relation to the rights of children of relocated EU citizens and recognition of professional qualifications. A lack of awareness on behalf of EU citizens about their own rights exacerbates these issues, so MEPs suggested that the role of EDIC offices is enhanced accordingly.
Despite European elections and the European Citizens’ Initiative, political rights (including non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality and consular protection) are not as developed as they should be. A key demand is for the removal of all barriers based on a citizen’s place of origin or residence. MEPs also suggested the introduction of e-democracy tools by member states.
Asking the Commission to take action
The resolution asks for the Commission to:
- assess systematically breaches of the Citizens’ Rights Directive;
- turn to the Court of Justice to establish if disenfranchisement based on residence is a violation of rights; and
- review ‘golden visa programmes’.
The Treaty of Lisbon defines the EU as a union of states and citizens, and EU citizenship is a unique construct existing in parallel and complementary to national identities.
Europe Day held on 9 May every year celebrates peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historical 'Schuman declaration'.
Europe Direct Information centres in every EU country provide (in local languages) answers to questions on EU rights, funding, etc., invitations to events, and access to EU documents and publications.
Rapporteur Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz (ALDE, ES) stated: “We take EU citizenship for granted, but it has fallen short of the expectations of young European citizens. Our responsibility is to pursue genuine solutions as a response to the rise of ideologies that threaten our European values.”