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Citizenship of the Union

European citizenship was established by the Treaty on European Union (EU Treaty), signed in Maastricht in 1992. The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) reaffirmed the rights resulting from EU citizenship.

Anyone who is a national of a Member State is considered to be a citizen of the Union and therefore has the right to:

  • move and take up residence anywhere in the Union;
  • vote and stand in local government and European Parliament elections in the country of residence;
  • diplomatic and consular protection outside the Union from the authorities of any Member State if the country of which the person is a national is not represented;
  • petition to the European Parliament and appeal to the European Ombudsman;
  • address the European institutions in any one of the official languages and to receive a reply in the same language;
  • non-discrimination on the basis of nationality, gender, race, religion, handicap, age or sexual orientation;
  • invite the Commission to submit a legislative proposal (citizens' initiative);
  • access the documents of the European institutions, bodies, offices and agencies, subject to certain conditions (Article 15 of the TFEU).

Following the consent of the European Parliament, the Council acting unanimously may in the future add to these rights.

The notion of Union citizenship does not replace national citizenship: it is an addition to it. This gives citizens a deeper and more tangible sense of belonging to the Union.


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