What is EU citizenship?
- Any person who holds the nationality of an EU country is automatically also an EU citizen. EU citizenship is additional to and does not replace national citizenship. It is for each EU country to lay down the conditions for the acquisition and loss of nationality of that country.
- Citizenship of the Union is conferred directly on every EU citizen by the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
What rights do you have as an EU citizen?
The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union entails the right:
- To non-discrimination on the basis of nationality when the Treaty applies
- To move and reside freely within the EU
- To vote for and stand as a candidate in European Parliament and municipal elections
- To be protected by the diplomatic and consular authorities of any other EU country
- To petition the European Parliament and complain to the European Ombudsman
- To contact and receive a response from any EU institution in one of the EU's official languages
- To access European Parliament, European Commission and Council documents under certain conditions
EU citizens also have the right to equal access to the EU Civil Service.
The Lisbon Treaty introduced a new form of public participation for European citizens, the Citizens' Initiative. This allows one million citizens who are nationals of a significant number of EU countries to call directly on the European Commission to bring forward an initiative of interest to them within the framework of its powers.
EU citizenship is regularly taken into consideration in the judgments of the Court of the Justice.
Do you or your family members need more information and advice? Please visit Your Europe.
Do you need help to solve a problem or want to file a complaint? Please visit Your Rights.
Do you need information specifically on Social Security Rights? Please visit DG Employment, social affairs and inclusion.
What is the European Commission doing?
In the perspective of the 2016 EU Citizenship Report, the Commission and the European Parliament organised a Hearing on EU Citizenship in practice: our common values, rights and democratic participation on 15 March 2016.
The Commission launched on 14 September a public consultation to gather citizens' experience and their ideas on how to make their live easier when they exercise their EU rights.
For more information on the results of the public consultation see:
Two Flash Eurobarometer surveys were conducted in November 2015 throughout EU-28 Member States.
- Eurobarometer on European Union Citizenship
see also: summary
general factsheet and
- Eurobarometer on Electoral rights
see also: summary
general factsheet and
The Commission is also monitoring the implementation and application by Member States of the EU citizenship rights as provided by the Treaty.
What has the European Commission done?
In 2014, the Commission issued a handbook for citizens "Did you know? 10 EU rights at a glance", as announced in its 2013 EU Citizenship Report.
In 2013 the Commission adopted its second EU Citizenship Report in May 2013 during the European Year of Citizens. This report draws an account of progress on the 25 actions put forward in 2010 and presents 12 new initiatives in 6 key areas to promote EU Citizenship and remove remaining obstacles preventing citizens from drawing the full benefits of EU citizenship. It is accompanied by a Report on progress towards effective EU citizenship 2011-2013 . There are also factsheets on the results from all of the Member States.
The 2013 EU Citizenship Report is based on testimonies and ideas by citizens collected through a consultation process launched in May 2012. This involved a public consultation on EU citizenship to gather citizens' experiences and their ideas on how to reinforce EU citizenship (see results by country), two Eurobarometer surveys on EU citizenship and electoral rights , a study by the Committee of the Regions on obstacles to free movement and political rights as well as events, such as a Forum organised by the Committee of the Regions on 28 November 2012, a hearing jointly organised by the European Parliament and the Commission, and the Commission's Citizens' Dialogues.
In its first Citizenship Report 2010 , the Commission identified obstacles that citizens face when making use of their EU rights as well as actions to eliminate these obstacles. The report was accompanied by a report on the progress towards effective EU citizenship . Both reports built on the results of a public consultation that took place in 2010. The Commission delivered on its commitments - see progress.
The Commission has published 5 reports on the implementation of part II of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union since the establishment of EU citizenship by the Treaty of Maastricht.
- Report on citizenship of the Union (1 May 2004-30 June 2007)(2008)
- Report on citizenship of the Union (1 May 2001-30 April 2004) (2004)
- Report on citizenship of the Union (2001)
- Report from the Commission on citizenship of the Union (1997)
- Report from the Commission on the citizenship of the Union (1993)