At the end of January 2016, the European Commission (EC) published the third EU Citizenship Report in which actions are presented to ensure citizens fully enjoy their rights. In the report it is mentioned how Europeans have a continuously increasing awareness of their status as citizens of the union and feel the need to know more about their rights. Issues when traveling, living, working or participating in elections are of crucial importance and the EU tries to ensure everyone is aware of those rights.
The most cherished of those rights that four out of five Europeans are aware of (December 2016 Eurobarometer), are the right to move and reside freely which allows them to live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU. On the other hand, the most commonly ignored ones are their right to vote in European and local elections and people’s right to consular protection from other Member States' embassies.
Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship highlighted the benefits of the rights coming with European citizenship and the importance of being able to acknowledge them as a citizen of the EU. They both mentioned how the European Union is trying to empower citizens by protecting their rights and freedoms.
But for this to happen, the EC is planning to ensure the citizenship rights awareness is increased with the following actions:
- An EU-wide information campaign on EU citizenship rights is underway, to help citizens better understand their rights.
-The Commission wants to create more voluntary opportunities for young people in Europe to make a meaningful contribution to society and show solidarity. The European Solidarity Corps, launched on 7 December 2016, gives young people the opportunity to gain valuable experience while showing solidarity to those in need.
-Increase EU citizen’s understanding of what impact the EU has on their daily lives by encouraging Citizens' Dialogues and public debate. Find out more about the Citizens’ Dialogues events and attend one close to you.
-Promoting best practices to help citizens vote and stand for EU elections, particularly in the run up to the 2019 elections.
If you are a young person wanting to find out more about your rights or how to get answers to possible questions you have, make sure to check out the European Citizenship portal!