?Citizenship of the European Union was introduced by the Maastricht Treaty, which was signed in 1992, and has been in force since 1993. European citizenship is supplementary to national citizenship and affords rights such as the right to vote in European elections, the right to free movement, settlement and employment across the EU, and the right to consular protection from other EU states’ embassies when a person’s country of citizenship does not maintain an embassy or consulate in the country they need protection in.
EU citizenship as a distinct concept was first introduced by the Maastricht Treaty, and was extended by the Treaty of Amsterdam. Prior to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, the European Communities treaties provided guarantees for the free movement of economically active persons, but not, generally, for others.
The 1951 Treaty of Paris establishing the European Coal and Steel Community established a right to free movement for workers in these industries and the 1957 Treaty of Rome provided for the free movement of workers and services. However, the Treaty provisions were interpreted by the European Court of Justice 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. In Martinez Sala, the European Court of Justice held that the citizenship provisions provided substantive free movement rights in addition to those already granted by Union law.
Historically, the main benefits of being a citizen of an EU state has been that of free movement. The free movement also applies to the citizens of European Economic Area states and Switzerland. 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”, 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, in any EU member state (Article 22) Voting in municipal elections: a right to vote and stand in local elections 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, and Commission documents (Article 15).
Petitioning Parliament and the Ombudsman: the right to petition the European Parliament and the right to apply to the European Ombudsman in order to bring to his attention any cases of poor administration by the EU institutions and bodies, with the exception of the legal bodies (Article 24) Linguistic rights: the right to apply to the EU institutions in one of the official languages 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 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 all member states maintain embassies in every country in the world (16 countries have only one embassy from an EU state). 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 Union law, to lay down the conditions for the acquisition and loss of nationality.
” As a result, there is a great variety in rules and practices with regard to the acquisition and loss of citizenship in EU member states. 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 theFaroe Islands of Denmark which, while are part of Denmark, are outside the EU and do not have EU citizenship.