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European Commission proposes to make 2013 the "European Year of Citizens"


Union citizenship and the rights that go with it are one of the key pillars of the European Union. As we mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Union citizenship, the European Commission has proposed to designate 2013 as the "European Year of Citizens".

20 years after the creation of Union citizenship, tangible progress has been made that directly affects the lives of millions of citizens. To take just one example: nowadays travelling abroad entails cheaper travel costs, hassle-free border crossings, package holiday guarantees, access to healthcare systems and cheaper calls when you phone home. These are just some of the benefits derived from EU citizenship. The Commission's goal is to make sure that we remove the remaining hurdles people face when exercising their rights abroad.

The purpose of the European Year of Citizens is to facilitate Union citizens' exercising their right to move and reside freely within the EU by ensuring they can easily access information about their rights. More specifically, the aim of the Year is to:

  • raise citizens' awareness of their right to reside freely within the European Union;
  • raise citizens' awareness of how they can benefit from EU rights and policies and to stimulate their active participation in Union policy-making;
  • stimulate debate about the impact and potential of the right to free movement, in particular in terms of strengthening cohesion and people's mutual understanding of one another.

To mark the European Year of Citizens 2013, a range of events, conferences and seminars will be organised across the EU at the Union, national, regional or local level. The Commission is also planning to strengthen the visibility of the multilingual Europe Direct and Your Europe web portals as key elements of a 'one-stop-shop' information system on Union citizens' rights, as well as the role and visibility of problem solving tools, such as SOLVIT, to allow Union citizens to better make use of and defend their rights.



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