Free movement of EU citizens and their family members: An overview

Briefing 13-05-2024

Directive 2004/38/EC (also known as the Citizens' Rights Directive or alternatively the Free Movement Directive) establishes the conditions under which European Union (EU) citizens and their family members, whether they are EU citizens or third-country nationals (TCNs), can exercise the right of free movement within the EU. Before the adoption of this directive, there were several other directives and a regulation that addressed different categories of mobile EU citizens. The provisions of the directive arespecific, meaning that all articles have direct effect and do not allow much flexibility for the Member States in their implementation. The directive covers not only EU citizenship but also the free movement of workers, establishment and services. Consequently, the directive introduces separate categories of beneficiaries each with their own unique set of specific rights. This briefing offers an overview of the various conditions and rights outlined in the directive for both EU citizens and their family members.