The consultation will be open for four months, until 9th September 2012, during which time the public will be asked about the obstacles they face in exercising their rights as EU citizens, be it when travelling in Europe, when voting or standing as a candidate in elections or when shopping online.
The public consultation comes ahead of the 2013 European Year of Citizens The input received from the public will feed directly into the Commission's policy agenda and form the basis for the 2013 EU Citizenship Report, to be presented in exactly one year's time: on 9 May 2013.
"Twenty years after we first created EU citizenship at the small border town of Maastricht, we must revitalise the European project – and we must do it with the direct help of our citizens," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's first Commissioner for Citizenship. "The European Union is there because of and to serve its citizens. People expect concrete results from Europe and with cheaper roaming charges, better rights for crime victims and easier shopping online for consumers, that is exactly what we are delivering. Citizens' direct input will help us to continue doing our job – and to do it even better in the future. I call on everyone to take a few minutes and share your view with us: this is about your rights and your future."
The European Commission adopted the first EU Citizenship Report in 2010 with a list of 25 concrete actions to address problems faced by EU citizens when exercising their rights. Since then the Commission has been working to deliver on its promises by:
• Strengthening the rights of around 75 million crime victims a year across the EU
• Slashing red tape for 3.5 million people registering a car in another EU country each year, with savings of €1.5 billion
• Banning extra credit card charges and pre-ticked boxes for online shoppers
• Reinforcing fair trial rights for all EU citizens, applying to around 8 million proceedings a year
• Clarifying property rights for Europe's 16 million international couples
Progress made so far can be further tracked here:
The Commission wants to hear about ideas as well as problems citizens might face when moving around in the EU, whether for work, study or holiday, when exercising electoral rights or their rights as consumers. What kind of European Union would citizens like to see by 2020?
Over the next four months (from 9 May until 9 September 2012), a short questionnaire can easily be completed online: