Hearing on enhancing EU citizenship rights and democratic participation 

Press Releases 

On Thursday, MEPs will assess ways to tackle the effects of COVID-19 on EU citizens’ rights, with Commissioner Reynders, Ombudsman O’Reilly and civil society representatives.

The hearing, organised by several European Parliament Committees (Legal Affairs, Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Constitutional Affairs and Petitions), will include a keynote speech by Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, and a presentation by the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly. MEPs will exchange views with representatives of the European Citizen Action Service, the European Youth Forum, Europeans Throughout the World, Open Evidence and the ECIT Foundation.

In the first panel, participants will discuss tools to enhance European citizens’ awareness of their EU-derived rights, obligations and duties, and guarantees to exercise these rights effectively. The second panel will address ways of fostering inclusiveness in democratic processes and citizens’ empowerment. The discussion will take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access to justice, free movement within the EU, electoral participation and fair elections.

When: Thursday 29 October 2020, 13.45 – 15.45 and 16.45 – 18.45

Where: European Parliament in Brussels, Altiero Spinelli building (room 1G3), and with remote participation

You can watch the hearing live. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, journalists are strongly advised to follow it online.


Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, EU citizens’ right to freedom of movement has been restricted, while at the same time the need to find new avenues to work, meet and communicate has been pronounced. The European Parliament, together with the European Commission and various experts, holds this timely hearing in order to explore way to reach citizens and facilitate their participation in debates and EU elections.