Wednesday 1 December 2010

EU citizenship: What is progress?

Yesterday I thought about the meaning of progress, when I read the progress report from the Commission:

On progress towards effective EU Citizenship 2007-2010; Brussels 27.10.2010, COM(2010) 602 final

Is it progress when the member states have left it to each other and international law to create citizens of the European Union, and the Commission does not even discuss questionable decisions on mass naturalisation and potential problems? In: National and EU citizenship: What if? (30 November 2010).

Is it progress when the Commission had turned less transparent by taking away the Visa Handbook from its website, making the claimed improvements hard to verify? In: EU citizenship: Visas for family members (30 November 2010).

Perhaps you should download this version while you can: Commission decision of 19.3.2010 establishing the Handbook for the processing of visa applications and the modification of issued visas; Brussels, 19.3.2010 C(2010) 1620 final

Free movement and residence

Despite the Citizenship Directive 2004/38, the Visa Code Regulation 810/2009 and the improvements claimed by the Commission in its Visa Handbook C(2010) 1620, issues concerning the free movement and residence of EU citizens and their family members have continued to vex the people concerned during 2010. Progress report, page 7:

Additional enquiries related to free movement and residence of EU citizens and their family members were received and handled by SOLVIT. Statistics regarding the reporting period show a steady substantial increase of the percentage of free movement and residence related problems submitted to SOLVIT, rising from 15% of the SOLVIT case volume in 2007, to 20% in 2008 and 38% in 2009, when residence-related issues became the area with the biggest share of complaints (549 cases handled and closed with 92% of cases solved). In the first six months of 2010, SOLVIT received (out of a total of almost 7 000 enquiries) 1 314 enquiries on free movement and residence related issues.

There are currently 63 infringement proceedings launched against Member States in the area of free movement and residence of EU citizens.

In the area of free movement, the Commission promised to give enforcement priority (including infringement procedures), but also to address issues of abuse and fraud together with the member states and to promote the smooth administration of free movement issues (page 8 of the progress report), as presented in more detail in the EU Citizenship Report COM(2010) 603.

Ralf Grahn

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