Follow-up to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons
This Communication aims to present the follow-up recommendations of the Veil Panel, which are designed to identify the problems which were occurring in the area of the free movement of people - to evaluate these and to propose solutions.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 1 July 1998 on the follow-up to recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons
On 14 January 1996, the Commission had requested the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons, chaired by Simone Veil, to identify the problems still arising in this area, to evaluate them and to propose solutions. On 18 March 1997, the High-Level Panel presented its report which makes over eighty recommendations in the seven main areas of interest to citizens of the Union wishing to move within the Community area. The recommendations dealt with entry and residence, access to employment, social rights and family status, tax and financial status, cultural rights and the particular situation of nationals from non-member countries.
A large number of the Panel's recommendations have been incorporated by the Commission into its Action Plan for the Single Market of June 1997 and into its more specific Action Plan for the Free Movement of Workers of November 1997.
This communication focuses, in particular, on two aspects of free movement examined by the High-Level Panel: first, the rights of entry and residence, and second, the need to improve citizens' knowledge about their rights.
With regard to the rights of entry and residence, the communication reports that current Community legislation was originally drawn up for workers and their families who wanted to move to another Member State either permanently or for a very long time. This legislation no longer applies to the increasing number of people who wish to exercise their right to mobility for a limited period or on a part-time basis (students, trainees, young volunteers, workers on temporary placements, mobile self-employed persons, frontier workers and retired persons with more than one residence).
Furthermore, by introducing into Article 8A (current Article 18) the concept of citizenship, the Maastricht Treaty generalised, for the benefit of all citizens and not just those pursuing an economic activity, the rights to enter, to reside and to stay in the territory of another Member State. From this point of view, these rights should be formalised in a common body of legislation.
In order to achieve this objective, the Commission proposes four series of actions :
- to create, in so far as possible, a single set of rules on free movement within the meaning of Article 8A (present Article 18) for all citizens of the Union and the members of their families;
- to take a new approach to the right of residence, in particular, by limiting the obligation to hold a residence permit to situations where this is justified;
- to clarify the status of the family members of an EU citizen who are nationals of non-member countries;
- clearer restrictions regarding the possibility of curtailing the exercise of the right to reside by a citizen of the EU.
Secondly the communication further highlights the need to improve citizens' knowledge about their rights under Community Legislation and to provide better training and information for all those involved in exercising the right of free movement. The Commission points out the following steps already taken in order to achieve this goal:
- launch at the Cardiff European Council on 15 and 16 June 1998 of the "Dialogue with Citizens and Businesses", which follows up and further develops the "Citizens First" initiative;
- development and consolidation of the Euro-jus network, an informal system providing legal advice and assistance to persons faced with difficulties in interpreting or applying Community law;
Lastly, in the communication's Annex, there is a detailed review of the follow-up to all the recommendations made by the High-Level Panel.