On 9 July, the European Commission released a new Eurobarometer survey on EU Citizenship and Democracy: https://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/survey/getsurveydetail/instruments/flash/surveyky/2260. It shows that a vast majority of Europeans (91%) are familiar with the term “citizen of the European Union”. This is the highest level of awareness yet since 2007 and a steady increase from 87% recorded in 2015. Most Europeans are well informed about their electoral rights – at national and European levels.
The European Commission has also launched a public consultation on EU Citizenship Rights: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12455-EU-Citizenship-Report-2020/public-consultation. The focus of this consultation is to gather information, experiences and views on EU citizenship rights, which will feed into the next EU Citizenship Report. In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, this consultation also includes questions related to the impact of emergency measures on EU citizenship rights. All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation until 1 October 2020.
The feedback from the Eurobarometer on EU citizenship and democracy, the public consultation and a broader stakeholder consultation (to be launched in the second half of 2020), will feed into the next EU Citizenship Report. This Report will set out concrete actions to further advance the EU citizenship rights. It will complement the European Democracy Action Plan, both to be adopted by the end of 2020.
Nationals of EU Member States are automatically citizens of the EU, and EU citizenship confers important rights. This includes:
- non-discrimination on the basis of nationality,
- right to live and move within the EU,
- participation in the political life of the EU,
- consular protection, in case of need when abroad, from the embassy or consulate of any other EU country, if one’s own country is not represented,
- right to petition the European Parliament and complain to the European ombudsman, etc.
These rights are laid out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. In this context, the CNUE fully supports all steps taken to ensure that EU citizenship rights benefit citizens, to increasingly involve citizens in the democratic life of the Union, to promote EU common values and strengthen protection for all European citizens.