European Commission - Press release
Free movement: Commission asks the UK to uphold EU citizens' rights
Brussels, 26 April 2012 – The European Commission has given the United Kingdom two months to comply with European Union rules on the free movement of EU citizens and their families across the EU or face an EU court case. The Commission's request takes the form of a reasoned opinion (the second step in the three-step EU infringement process). The Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC) aims to ensure that EU citizens can fully enjoy their rights to freely travel, live and work anywhere in the European Union. The Commission may refer countries that are not fulfilling their obligations to the Court of Justice of the EU.
The Free Movement Directive should have been fully transposed by EU Member States in their national rules by April 2006. Following bilateral discussions with EU Member States, the Commission successfully resolved more than 90% of outstanding issues in national implementation, but certain obstacles remain (IP/11/981).
The Commission therefore launched infringement proceedings against Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Malta, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden, Poland and the United Kingdom during the period from March to October 2011.
The reasoned opinion against the United Kingdom follows two reasoned opinions against the Czech Republic and Lithuania, launched in January 2012 (IP/12/75).
As one of the EU's larger Member States, the UK is home to around 2 million citizens from other EU countries. It is therefore important that UK laws respect their rights. While the UK authorities have recently committed to amending their rules to ensure full compliance with EU law on free movement in a number of important areas, four issues remain unresolved, namely:
The Commission is continuing to closely monitor how all the other EU Member States are delivering on their commitments to amend their national rules in order to comply with the Commission's concerns.
For more information
European Commission: EU citizenship – movement and residence:
Justice Directorate General Newsroom:
Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner: