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Context: the European Year of Citizens 2013

The European Year of Citizens 2013 will focus on rights that every EU citizen has. All 500 million Europeans benefit daily from these rights – as does the European economy.

The European Year will encourage dialogue at all levels of government, civil society and business, to explore where you – as citizens – want the EU to be by 2020 – in terms of rights, policies and governance.

Why a European Year of Citizens?

The rights of EU citizens are enshrined in the Treaty on European Union and complement national rights. If people know about these rights and use them, they benefit as an individual. The EU as a whole feels this benefit, both economically and in terms of citizen support for the EU project.

The 2010 EU Citizenship Report concluded that EU citizens are not benefiting fully from their rights because they are not aware of them – in particular their right to move and reside freely in other EU countries.

In the same year, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to make 2013 the European Year of Citizenship. MEPs wanted to boost the debate on EU citizenship and inform EU citizens of their rights.

Political context

The European Year of Citizens 2013 takes place at an important time:

  • One year before the 2014 European Parliament elections. The European Year complements efforts by EU institutions and countries to highlight voting rights and encourage people to vote.
  • On the 20th birthday of EU citizenship. The concept was launched by the Maastricht Treaty. The European Year of Citizens and the EU Citizenship Report 2013 will demonstrate, with concrete examples, what benefits EU citizenship offers citizens – as private individuals, consumers, residents, students, workers or political actors.
  • During an economic downturn. Commission president José Manuel Barroso stated in his 2009 Political Guidelines: ‘Europe's raison d'être is to empower Europeans’. In times of crisis, the need to empower European citizens and to strengthen the citizen dimension is more important than ever. It is vital that EU citizens can make informed choices on their personal lives, the communities in which they live and democratic life at all levels.

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For questions related to the Year, contact

The team of the Year 2014

For general information enquiries, contact

Europe Direct : Call 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11E-mail us your questions

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