Citizenship of the European Union

Citizenship of the European Union

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Citizenship
Citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

 of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU) was introduced by the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

 (signed in 1992, in force since 1993). European citizenship is supplementary to national citizenship and affords rights such as the right to vote in European elections
Elections in the European Union
Elections to the Parliament of the European Union take place every five years by universal adult suffrage. 736 MEPs are elected to the European Parliament which has been directly elected since 1979. No other body is directly elected although the Council of the European Union and European Council is...

, the right to free movement and the right to consular protection from other EU states' embassies.

Stated rights


Historically, the main benefits of being a citizen of an EU state has been that of free movement. However with the creation of EU citizenship, certain political rights came into being. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for citizens to be "directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

", and "to participate in the democratic life of the Union" (Treaty on the European Union, Title II, Article 10). Specifically, the following rights are afforded;

Political rights
  • Voting in European elections: a right to vote and stand in elections to the European Parliament
    Elections in the European Union
    Elections to the Parliament of the European Union take place every five years by universal adult suffrage. 736 MEPs are elected to the European Parliament which has been directly elected since 1979. No other body is directly elected although the Council of the European Union and European Council is...

    , in any EU member state
    Member State of the European Union
    A member state of the European Union is a state that is party to treaties of the European Union and has thereby undertaken the privileges and obligations that EU membership entails. Unlike membership of an international organisation, being an EU member state places a country under binding laws in...

     (Article 22)
  • Voting in municipal elections: a right to vote and stand in local election
    Local election
    Local elections vary widely across jurisdictions. In electoral systems that roughly follow the Westminster model, a terminology has evolved with roles such as Mayor or Warden to describe the executive of a city, town or region, although the actual means of elections vary...

    s in an EU state other than their own, under the same conditions as the nationals of that state (Article 22)
  • Accessing European government documents: a right to access to European Parliament, Council
    Council of the European Union
    The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

    , and Commission
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

     documents (Article 15).
  • Petitioning Parliament and the Ombudsman: the right to petition the European Parliament
    European Parliament
    The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

     and the right to apply to the European Ombudsman
    European Ombudsman
    The European Ombudsman is an ombudsman for the European Union, based in the Salvador de Madariaga Building in Strasbourg.-History:...

     in order to bring to his attention any cases of poor administration by the EU institutions
    Institutions of the European Union
    The European Union is governed by seven institutions. Article 13 of Treaty on European Union lists them in the following order: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European...

     and bodies, with the exception of the legal bodies (Article 24)This right also extends to "any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in a Member State": Treaty of Rome (consolidated version), Article 194.
  • Linguistic rights: the right to apply to the EU institutions
    Institutions of the European Union
    The European Union is governed by seven institutions. Article 13 of Treaty on European Union lists them in the following order: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European...

     in one of the official languages
    Languages of the European Union
    The languages of the European Union are languages used by people within the member states of the European Union. They include the twenty-three official languages of the European Union along with a range of others...

     and to receive a reply in that same language (Article 24).


Rights of free movement
  • Right to free movement and residence: a right of free movement and residence
    Four Freedoms (European Union)
    The European Union's Internal Market seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people – the EU's four freedoms – within the EU's 27 member states.The Internal Market is intended to be conducive to increased competition, increased specialisation, larger...

     throughout the Union and the right to work in any position (including national civil services with the exception of those posts in the public sector that involve the exercise of powers conferred by public law and the safeguard of general interests of the State or local authorities (Article 21) for which however there is no one single definition);
  • Freedom from discrimination on nationality: a right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality within the scope of application of the Treaty (Article 18);


Rights abroad
  • Right to consular protection: a right to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of other Member States when in a non-EU Member State, if there are no diplomatic or consular authorities from the citizen's own state (Article 23): this is due to the fact that not member states maintain embassies in every country in the world (16 countries have only one embassy from an EU state).

Free movement rights



Article 21 Freedom to move and reside
Article 21 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that
Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in this Treaty and by the measures adopted to give it effect.


The European Court of Justice
European Court of Justice
The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

 has remarked that,
EU Citizenship is destined to be the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States


The ECJ has held that this Article confers a directly effective
Direct effect
Direct effect is the principle of European Union law according to which provisions of Union law may, if appropriately framed, confer rights and impose obligations on individuals which the courts of European Union member states are bound to recognise and enforce...

 right upon citizens to reside in another Member State. Before the case of Baumbast, it was widely assumed that non-economically active citizens had no rights to residence deriving directly from the EU Treaty, only from directives created under the Treaty. In Baumbast, however, the ECJ held that (the then) Article 18 of the EC Treaty granted a generally applicable right to residency, which is limited by secondary legislation, but only where that secondary legislation is proportionate. Member States can distinguish between nationals and Union citizens but only if the provisions satisfy the test of proportionality. Migrant EU citizens have a "legitimate expectation of a limited degree of financial solidarity... having regard to their degree of integration into the host society" Length of time is a particularly important factor when considering the degree of integration.

The ECJ's case law on citizenship has been criticised for subjecting an increasing number of national rules to the proportionality assessment.

Article 45 Freedom of movement to work
Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that
1. Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Union.
2. Such freedom of movement shall entail the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.


State employment reserved exclusively for nationals varies immensely between member states. For example, training as a barrister in Britain and Ireland is not reserved for nationals, while the corresponding French course qualifies one as a 'juge' and hence can only be taken by French citizens.

It is not unusual, however, for new member states to have to undergo transitional regimes during which their nationals only enjoy restricted access to the labour markets in other member states. This most recently occurred on the 2004 and 2007 enlargements. In the 2004 enlargement
2004 enlargement of the European Union
The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was the largest single expansion of the European Union , both in terms of territory, number of states and population, however not in terms of gross domestic product...

 three "old" member states—Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, Sweden and the United Kingdom—decided to allow unrestricted access to their labour markets. And as of December 2009, all but two member states—Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and Germany—had completely dropped controls. These restrictions expired on 1 May 2011.

All pre-2004 member states, bar Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, imposed restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens following the 2007 enlargement
2007 enlargement of the European Union
The 2007 enlargement of the European Union saw Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union on 1 January 2007. It was the latest expansion of the EU, though considered by the European Commission as part of the same wave as the 2004 enlargement of the European Union.-Negotiations:Romania was the...

, as did two member states that joined in 2004: Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

. These restrictions will expire on 1 January 2014.

Citizens' Rights Directive
Much of the existing secondary legislation and case law was consolidated in Directive 2004/38/EC on the right to move and reside freely
Directive 2004/38/EC on the right to move and reside freely
The Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States...

 within the EU.

Limitations
The Treaty of Accession 2005
Treaty of Accession 2005
The Treaty of Accession 2005 is an agreement between the member states of European Union and Bulgaria and Romania. It entered into force on 1 January 2007. The Treaty arranged accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU and amended earlier Treaties of the European Union...

 of Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 to the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 stipulates that the right to residence for nationals of the these two most recent EU members may be limited by member states
Member State of the European Union
A member state of the European Union is a state that is party to treaties of the European Union and has thereby undertaken the privileges and obligations that EU membership entails. Unlike membership of an international organisation, being an EU member state places a country under binding laws in...

 for the seven years following those countries' accession, i.e. until the end of 2013. On 1 January 2014, the restrictions on these two EU Member States will be lifted permanently.

History


The concept of EU citizenship as a distinct concept was first introduced by the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

, and was extended by the Treaty of Amsterdam. Prior to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, the European Communities
European Communities
The European Communities were three international organisations that were governed by the same set of institutions...

 treaties provided guarantees for the free movement of economically active persons, but not, generally, for others. The 1951 Treaty of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1951)
The Treaty of Paris was signed on 18 April 1951 between France, West Germany, Italy and the three Benelux countries , establishing the European Coal and Steel Community , which subsequently became part of the European Union...

 establishing the European Coal and Steel Community
European Coal and Steel Community
The European Coal and Steel Community was a six-nation international organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and create the foundation for the modern-day developments of the European Union...

 established a right to free movement for workers in these industries and the 1957 Treaty of Rome
Treaty of Rome
The Treaty of Rome, officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, was an international agreement that led to the founding of the European Economic Community on 1 January 1958. It was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany...

 provided for the free movement of workers and services.

However, the Treaty provisions were interpreted by the European Court of Justice
European Court of Justice
The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

 not as having a narrow economic purpose, but rather a wider social and economic purpose. In Levin, the Court found that the "freedom to take up employment was important, not just as a means towards the creation of a single market for the benefit of the Member State economies, but as a right for the worker to raise her or his standard of living". Under the ECJ caselaw, the rights of free movement of workers applies regardless of the worker's purpose in taking up employment abroad, to both part-time and full-time work, and whether or not the worker required additional financial assistance from the Member State into which he moves. Since, the ECJ has held that a recipient of service has free movement rights under the treaty and this criterion is easily fulfilled, effectively every national of an EU country within another Member State, whether economically active or not, had a right under Article 12 of the European Community Treaty to non-discrimination even prior to the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

.

In Martinez Sala, the European Court of Justice
European Court of Justice
The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

 held that the citizenship provisions provided substantive free movement rights in addition to those already granted by Community law.

Acquisition


There is no common EU policy on the acquisition of European citizenship as it is supplementary to national citizenship (one cannot be an EU citizen without being a national of a member state). Article 20 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that
Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship.


While nationals of Member States are citizens of the union, "It is for each Member State, having due regard to Community law, to lay down the conditions for the acquisition and loss of nationality."

Thus in practice, a member state may withhold EU citizenship from certain groups of citizens — namely some in overseas territories of member states outside the EU. One example would be the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

 of Denmark which, while are part of Denmark, are outside the EU and do not have EU citizenship.

Danish opt-out



Denmark obtained four opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty following the treaty's initial rejection in a 1992 referendum
Danish Maastricht Treaty referendum, 1992
A referendum on the Maastricht Treaty was held in Denmark on 2 June 1992. It was rejected by 50.7% of voters with a turnout of 83.1%. The rejection was considered somewhat of a blow to the process of European integration, although the process continued...

. The opt-outs are outlined in the Edinburgh Agreement
Edinburgh Agreement
The Edinburgh Agreement or Edinburgh Decision is a December 1992 agreement reached at a European Council meeting in Edinburgh, UK, that granted Denmark four exceptions to the Maastricht Treaty so that it could be ratified by Denmark. This was necessary because, without all member states of the...

 and concern the EMU (as above), the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), Justice and Home Affairs
Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters
The third of the three pillars of the European Union was Justice and Home Affairs , which was shrunk and renamed Police and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters in 2003. The pillar existed between 1993 and 2009, when it was absorbed into a consolidated EU structure.The pillar focused on...

 (JHA) and the citizenship of the European Union. The citizenship opt-out stated that European citizenship did not replace national citizenship; this opt-out was rendered meaningless when the Amsterdam Treaty
Amsterdam Treaty
The Amsterdam Treaty, officially the Treaty of Amsterdam amending the Treaty of the European Union, the Treaties establishing the European Communities and certain related acts, was signed on 2 October 1997, and entered into force on 1 May 1999; it made substantial changes to the Maastricht Treaty,...

 adopted the same wording for all members. The policy of recent Danish governments has been to hold referenda to abolish these opt outs, including formally abolishing the citizenship opt out which is still technically active even if redundant.

See also



  • Passport of the European Union
  • European Citizens' Initiative
    European Citizens' Initiative
    The European Citizens' Initiative is one of the major innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon, aimed at increasing direct democracy in the European Union...

  • European citizens' consultations
    European citizens' consultations
    The European Citizens’ Consultations are the first pan-European participatory project to involve citizens from all 27 Member States of the European Union into the debate about the Future of Europe. Between October 2006 and May 2007, more than 1,800 citizens deliberated on the subject in 27...

  • Europe for Citizens
    Europe for Citizens
    Europe for Citizens is a European Union programme designed to help bridge the gap between citizens and the European Union. Ending in 2006, the European Commission on 6 April 2005 adopted a proposal for a new programme to run from 2007 to 2013...

  • Four Freedoms (European Union)
    Four Freedoms (European Union)
    The European Union's Internal Market seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people – the EU's four freedoms – within the EU's 27 member states.The Internal Market is intended to be conducive to increased competition, increased specialisation, larger...


External links

  • EU Citizenship, European Commission
    European Commission
    The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

     Directorate-General for Justice