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

What the Commission has done

Find out more about previous reports and other work on EU citizenship

Information portals