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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 31 August 2012

Future of Europe Consultation: 10 more Days to go!

Over 8404 EU-citizens have already had their say on the future of Europe by participating in the broad web-based consultation on citizens' rights and the future of Europe launched by the European Commission – the latest figures released today show. On 9 May, Europe Day, the European Commission called on European citizens to help set the policy agenda for the years to come and shape the future of Europe (IP/12/461). Proposals about a 'Political Union', a 'European Federation' or a 'United States of Europe' are the talk of the town. This important question about the future of the European Union should not only be debated by politicians but by citizens as well. There are ten more days for Europeans to share their views on questions such as "How would you like the European Union to develop in the near future? In what kind of European Union would you like to live in 2020?". The consultation will close on 9 September

"At a time when the political debate in Europe is looking to the future and discussing various scenarios for a genuine political and economic and monetary Union, it is important to give citizens a stake in their own future. This consultation is an opportunity for Europeans to help shape the EU's agenda, in terms of their concrete rights as EU citizens and more broadly where they would like to see the EU going in the future," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. "We need more Europe, not less, to emerge from the crisis. And for this, we need our citizens on boards. Europe is after all about their rights, their concerns and their future. It is therefore the citizens that should guide us on our journey to a stronger and more integrated Europe."

The Commission's consultation 'Your rights, your future' also asks the public about the very practical obstacles citizens face in their daily life, when exercising their rights as EU citizens or when wanting to rely on fundamental rights enshrined in EU law. The Commission wants to learn about any difficulties Europeans encounter, be it when travelling in Europe, when moving across borders, when voting or standing as a candidate in elections, or when shopping online.

The input received from the consultation will feed directly into the Commission's policy agenda for the coming years and will form the basis for the 2013 EU Citizenship Report, to be presented on 9 May 2013, next year's Europe Day. Following a proposal from the Commission, 2013 is set to become the European Year of Citizens (IP/11/959). This will be an opportunity to debate directly with citizens in the Member States in so-called ‘Citizens Dialogues’ – the first of which is set to take place on 27 September in Cadiz.

The first EU Citizenship Report in 2010 outlined 25 concrete actions (see IP/10/1390 and MEMO/10/525) to remove obstacles confronted by EU citizens when exercising their rights in the EU. Since then the Commission has been working to deliver on its promises, for example by strengthening the rights of crime victims, slashing red tape for people registering a car in another EU country, banning extra credit card charges and pre-ticked boxes for online shoppers, and reinforcing fair trial rights for all citizens in the EU.

Just three months after the kick-off of the future of Europe consultation on 9 May, over 8404 people have participated and answered the online questionnaire. This includes citizens from all Member States (9.9 % of respondents are French, 9.2 % German, 8.9% Italian, 7.6 % Spanish and 8.5 % are Polish– see how your country is faring in the Annex).

The short questionnaire can easily be completed online and only takes ten minutes of your time. The consultation will be open until 9 September:

http://ec.europa.eu/your-rights-your-future.

Background

Thanks to EU citizenship – which does not replace national citizenship but complements it – all nationals of the 27 EU Member States have a set of additional rights as EU citizens. These include the right to vote and stand in local and European elections in the EU country they live in, the right to consular protection abroad under the same conditions as nationals and the right to petition the European Parliament, complain to the European Ombudsman, or to take part in a European Citizens' Initiative. In addition, everybody who lives in Europe can rely on the fundamental rights set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights whenever EU law is applied by the EU institutions or implemented by national authorities.

The EU Citizenship Report 2010 outlined 25 concrete actions to remove the remaining obstacles to EU citizens exercising their right to free movement in the EU. One of these is to strengthen people's awareness of their EU citizenship status, their rights and what these rights mean in their daily lives. The Commission therefore proposed to designate 2013 as the European Year of Citizens and to organise targeted events on EU citizenship and citizen-related policies throughout the Year.

For more information

Homepage of Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship:

http://ec.europa.eu/reding

Read also about Vice-President Reding's future vision of Europe:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/reding/eufuture/index_en.htm

Public consultation:

http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice

EU Citizenship:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen

Newsroom of Directorate-General Justice:

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/news/intro/news_intro_en.htm

Contacts :

Mina Andreeva (+32 2 299 13 82)

Natasha Bertaud (+32 2 296 74 56)

ANNEX

Total number of replies: 8404

Breakdown by nationality

% of total number of replies (8404)

France

(9.9%)

Germany

(9.2%)

Italy

(8.9%)

Poland

(8.5%)

Spain

(7.6%)

Portugal

(7.3%)

Romania

(6%)

United Kingdom

(5.3%)

Greece

(4.5%)

Belgium

(3.6%)

Bulgaria

(3.1%)

Netherlands

(2.5%)

Hungary

(2.2%)

Austria

(1.7%)

Czech Republic

(1.6%)

Cyprus

(1.5%)

Malta

(1.4%)

Latvia

(1.4%)

Luxembourg

(1.4%)

Sweden

(1.3%)

Finland

(1.2%)

Other

(1.2%)

Ireland

(1%)

Estonia

(0.7%)

Denmark

(0.6%)

Slovakia

(0.6%)

Lithuania

(0.5%)

Slovenia

(0.5%)

N/A

(4.7%)

Breakdown by age group

% of total number of replies (8404)

18-30 years old

(34.9%)

31-45 years old

(33.3%)

46-65 years old

(22%)

Over 65 years old

(4.3%)

Less than 18 years old

(1.2%)

N/A

(4.3%)


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