Values and rights, rule of law, security
#TheFutureIsYours Looking after citizens’ freedoms
Ideas for the Future of European Citizenship
The aim is to bring together a group of binational citizens or connected to another Member State to reflect on the status of European citizenship and to study its possible improvement or enrichment, taking advantage of the variety of experiences of this group. Some ideas will be explored to complement and strengthen European citizenship, such as access to the national civil service, deepening the right to stand as a candidate/active, free movement or consular protection.
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Event reportThirty years ago, at the 1991 Intergovernmental Conference, Spain proposed the establishment of European citizenship: a new legal institution serving the citizen, which formalised a dual political link, with the Member State and with the Union. This European citizenship, complementary to the national citizenship, was associated with a set of rights which at the time of the integration process constituted an important step forward. A special procedure was also established to complete them over time. However, thirty years later, these expectations for updating have not been met. In a Union whose political dimension has not ceased to be strengthened, the status of European citizenship requires deepening. The future of European democracy and, therefore, the future of European democracy, and hence the future of the Union, are at stake in this political — institutional link which constitutes European citizenship. Free movement and residence The free movement of persons is perceived by Europeans as the greatest achievement of the integration process. 81 % support the principle of free movement. However, it is essential to remove the obstacles that still hamper the exercise of the rights of free movement and residence in practice. To this end, it is proposed that: — The creation of a European digital identity, which would help to ease the formalities now required to reside in a State other than that of nationality. — The establishment of a one-stop-shop system to help overcome the complexity of bureaucratic procedures. — The creation of a simple welcome package or manual to report on the steps to be taken to reside and settle in another EU country. — Overcoming the remaining difficulties in the recognition of European qualifications in certain professions. — The need to provide more information on the content of European citizenship in general and, in particular, officials. — Harmonisation of the list of exclusions for access to public employment so as to define more clearly and reduce the list of public employment posts reserved for nationals. Right to vote and to stand as a candidate in the state of residence The number of citizens residing and working in another Member State has increased significantly over the last 10 years2. However, regardless of the time elapsed, they could not participate in regional and national elections. They often feel second-class citizens. They contribute, not only with their taxes, in the state in which they reside, but they are deprived of the right to vote in elections that so directly affect them. — We propose to extend the right to vote and stand as a candidate for European citizens in the State of residence to national and regional elections. In addition, it is proposed that: — Speeding up the procedures in order for citizens to exercise their right to vote and stand as a candidate in European and municipal elections to a greater extent. — A new legal basis should be established in the Treaties in order to harmonise certain aspects of the rules governing the nationality of the Member States. — In elections to the European Parliament, mechanisms must be put in place to make citizens more aware that their vote counts. It is essential to recover the list leader system (Spitzenkandidat) in the election of the President of the Commission. We also propose to make transnational lists a reality. Education, culture and sport European citizenship implies a dual political link, with the State and with the Union, a double sense of belonging, a double identity. 72 % of citizens feel like citizens of the European Union3. We propose to establish ways to strengthen this dual link: — It is essential to invest in education. There is a need to educate from childhood on the EU and its institutions and, in particular, on the rights of European citizenship. — It is appropriate to make the most of the exchange opportunities offered by the Erasmus programme. It is proposed that it be extended to cover secondary education and vocational training. — It is important to highlight the European cultural identity, which coexists with its rich diversity, encouraging cultural exchange in all its manifestations (arts, cinema, music, literature...) — To make European identity more visible, we propose the use of European symbols (flag, anthem) together with national ones in international sports competitions.
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