A hearing will be jointly organised by the European Commission (DG Justice and Consumers) and the European Parliament (LIBE, PETI, AFCO and JURI Committees) on 15 March 2016. This constitutes a timely opportunity to further reflect, with all actors concerned, on concrete avenues to advance EU citizenship in this context. The objective of the hearing will be to look at ways of simplifying and facilitating the exercise of EU citizens' rights in their daily life, as well as to promote our common values and democratic participation.
EU citizenship and the rights that go with it are one of the corner stones of the European Union. European citizenship was defined in the EU Treaties more than 20 years ago (currently Articles 20 to 24 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). It is automatically granted to all nationals of an EU country. As underlined by the European Union Court of Justice, it is "destined to become the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States".
There are a number of rights European citizens enjoy that are attached to Union Citizenship, notably the right
- to travel and live freely within the EU
- not to be discriminated against on the grounds of nationality
- to vote and stand as a candidates in municipal and European Parliament elections wherever they live in the EU
- if their own country is not represented, to be assisted by another EU country’s embassy or consulate outside the EU, under the same conditions as a citizen of that country
- to petition the European Parliament, apply to the European Ombudsman and address the EU institutions (in any official EU language)
- to organise or support, together with other EU citizens, a citizens’ initiative to call for new EU legislation
The ultimate goal of EU citizenship policies is for all EU citizens to feel at home wherever they are in the EU and to feel truly European, also when staying at home. This means enhancing EU rights and making sure that EU citizens can enjoy them in their everyday life. It also means fostering citizens' participation in the political life of the EU, by reinforcing their voting rights and creating a genuine European public space where they can express their concerns and ideas about the development of the EU.
The Commission 2015 Public Consultation "EU Citizenship: Share your opinion on our common values, rights and democratic participation", as well as the 2016 Flash Eurobarometer on EU Citizenship and the 2016 Flash Eurobarometer on Electoral Rights showed that, while progress has been made, there is still work to be done. The input of Europeans who participated to these surveys will feed in the Commission's reflection on how to raise awareness and promote better exercise of their rights as EU citizens.
On the occasion of the hearing "EU Citizenship in practice: our common values, rights and democratic participation", politicians, experts, professionals and civil society will have the opportunity to discuss in two panels on possible solutions and the way forward.
Agenda(535 kB) of the hearing
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