Rights of EU citizens

The Treaty on the functioning of the European Union gives EU citizens the right to

  • non-discrimination on the basis of nationality
  • move and reside freely within the EU
  • vote for and stand as a candidate in European Parliament and municipal elections
  • consular protection (help from the embassy or consulate of any other EU country to EU citizens in distress in a country outside the EU where they have no embassy or consulate of their own country)
  • petition the European Parliament and complain to the European ombudsman
  • contact and receive a response from any EU institution in one of the EU's official languages
  • access European Parliament, European Commission and Council documents under certain conditions

All EU citizens have equal access to the EU Civil Service.

Citizens' initiative

With the Lisbon Treaty, a new form of public participation is available to European citizens: the citizens' initiative, which allows one million citizens - nationals of a significant number of EU countries - to call directly on the European Commission to bring forward an initiative of interest to them.

EU citizenship reports

EU citizenship and the rights it confers lie at the heart of the EU. Since 1993, the European Commission reports every 3 years on progress towards effective EU citizenship and new priorities for the years ahead in the area of EU citizenship rights.

Press release on the EU Citizenship Report 2017

Summary Factsheet: EU Citizenship Report 2017

Eurobarometer surveys

Standard Eurobarometers are carried out twice yearly. Among other things, these examine people's attitudes on EU citizenship and on issues linked to the priorities of the European Commission, notably free movement.
Autumn 2016 –Standard Eurobarometer report on EU citizenship (EB 86)

2 specific Eurobarometer surveys were carried out throughout EU countries in view of the 2017 EU citizenship report:

European citizenship (2016)

Eurobarometer report on EU citizenship 2016

Summary: Eurobarometer report on EU citizenship 2016

Factsheet: Eurobarometer on EU citizenship 2016

Electoral rights (2016)

Summary: Eurobarometer on electoral rights 2016

Factsheet: Eurobarometer on electoral rights 2016

Special Eurobarometer survey on democracy and elections was issued in 2018 as a contribution to the annual Colloquium on fundamental rights.

What the Commission has done

Group of Member State Experts on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes

The Commission undertook in the 2019 Report  on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the EU (details below) to set up and support a group of experts from the Member States to:

  • look at the specific risks arising from investor citizenship schemes;
  • develop a common set of security checks, including risk management processes that take into account security, money-laundering, tax evasion and corruption risks, by the end of 2019; and
  • address the aspects of transparency and good governance with regard to the implementation of both investor citizenship and residence schemes.

The meetings of this group will take place on 5 April 2019, 8 July 2019 and 2 October 2019.  You can find the agendas for the meetings, as they become available, and further information on the activities of the group here.

Report on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union

On 23 January 2019, the Commission adopted a report on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes in the European Union:

The Commission’s Report on Investor Citizenship and Residence Schemes is based largely on a detailed fact-finding study commissioned by the Commission, consisting of four parts:

Information portals