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European Commission - Press release

Free movement: Commission upholds EU citizens' rights

Brussels, 26 January 2012 - The European Commission has given the Czech Republic and Lithuania two months to comply with EU rules on the free movement of EU citizens and their families across the EU. 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 aims to ensure EU citizens can fully enjoy their rights to freely travel, live and work anywhere in the European Union. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission can refer the countries to the Court of Justice of the EU.

The Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC) should have been fully transposed by Member States in their national rules by April 2006. Following bilateral discussions with the Member States, the Commission successfully resolved 90% of outstanding issues in national implementation, but certain obstacles remained. The Commission therefore launched infringement proceedings against Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Malta, Lithuania, Spain, Sweden, Poland and the United Kingdom over the period from March to October 2011 (IP/11/981). The majority of these countries have since notified the Commission of their efforts to bring their national legislation in line with EU law.

The two reasoned opinions against the Czech Republic and Lithuania start the second step in the enforcement process against those EU countries where EU free movement rules are still not fully transposed. In particular:

Lithuania does not sufficiently ensure that national authorities may only deny entry to or expel those EU citizens who are a real, serious and present danger to society. Full and explicit introduction of the safeguards of the Directive will ensure that all EU citizens with genuine interests are welcome in Lithuania.

The Czech Republic obliges EU citizens and their family members to present a certificate of accommodation with their applications for EU residence documents. This goes against the letter and spirit of the Directive which comprehensively specifies which supporting documents national authorities may request to avoid undue administrative burden for EU citizens and their family members.

In addition, the Czech Republic does not adequately guarantee that victims of domestic violence from non-EU countries are informed that their right to live in the country will not be endangered by the break-down of the relationship with the EU citizen. Full knowledge of this right would encourage this vulnerable group to seek help from the national authorities without fearing for their right of residence.

The Commission is meanwhile continuing to closely monitor how all the other EU countries are delivering on their commitments to amend their national rules in order to comply with the Commission's concerns.

For more information


See IP/11/981

European Commission: EU citizenship – movement and residence:

Justice Directorate General Newsroom:

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner:

Contacts :

Matthew Newman (+32 2 296 24 06)

Mina Andreeva (+32 2 299 13 82)

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