Sunday 31 October 2010

Know your rights as an EU citizen

Are you moving within the European Union? Are you looking for work in another EU country, or are you setting up shop? Is your employer turning you into an expat? Do you want to spend retirement in another EU member state? Are there family reasons for relocating? Do you want to bring your non-EU family members into the European Union?

There are different reasons for relocating, but you should know your rights as an EU citizen. The European Commission now offers you the means to sort out the basics, before you meet public officials or turn to outside experts for advice.

At the European Commission’s DG Justice, vice-president Viviane Reding published a number of new documents concerning EU citizenship this week. (As a consequence, the informational quality of the DG Justice web pages is starting to improve, although many of them still resemble archives more than communication in real time.)

One of the positive actions was a new brochure for EU citizens, published as a high and a low resolution version in 22 languages. The freedom to move and to reside in the European Union is relevant for mobile citizens of the European Union, who plan to move to another EU country or already live outside their country of origin. It also concerns their non-EU family members:

Freedom to move and live in Europe - A Guide to your rights as an EU citizen (40 pages)

The thirteen chapter headings give you an idea of what you can expect to find basic guidance on:

Chapter 1 What is EU citizenship?
Chapter 2 Who can benefit?
Chapter 3 Where can you exercise this right?
Chapter 4 Preparing to move
Schengen rules
Chapter 5 The first three months
Reporting your presence
Chapter 6 After three months
Chapter 7 Administrative formalities
EU citizens
Non-EU family members
Chapter 8 Keeping the right to reside
Family members
Chapter 9 Right of permanent residence
Administrative requirements
Chapter 10 Equal treatment
Chapter 11 Restrictions
Chapter 12 Transitional arrangements for workers
Chapter 13 How to protect your rights

Besides the Treaty provisions on EU citizenship, the so called Citizenship Directive 2004/38 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States is important for you and 11 million other mobile union citizens.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. Perhaps you should stay on top of what is happening in the European Union. Nowadays online communication offers you unprecedented ease of access to mainstream media and social media in Europe. Multilingual aggregates the posts from 686 blogs related to the European Union and the Council of Europe. These Euroblogs keep you up to date and they give you the opportunity to hone your language skills.

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