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EU Citizenship Treaty Provisions: ECAS present possible improvements

20 September 2023

Today, 20 September 2023, our Executive Director, Assya Kavrakova, participated in the European Parliament Institutional public hearing on the “Implementation of the Treaty provisions on EU citizenship”. 

The inputs will support the preparation of the report being drafted and will provide an understanding of the state of progress on the implementation of the Treaty provisions as well as identify areas of improvement.

Main points raised by ECAS:

  • Freedom of Movement and related rights post-COVID

– Continuous and recurrent problems with social security coordination, residence and entry rights, especially of family members of EU citizens who are third-country nationals.

– New challenges: Teleworking.

– Narrow interpretation of certain notions of Directive 2004/38/EC  by MS: looking forward to the Commission’s Communication (Structured Guidelines).

 Area of serious concern: the discontinuation of Your Europe Advice, leading to dismantling the cascade system (EDCC – YEA – SOLVIT), leaving about 25,000 EU citizens and businesses annually without access to free legal advice regarding their rights. 

  • Political Rights of EU Mobile Citizens: complexity of registration processes, lack of information, language barriers

ECAS Recommendations:

-Simplified and harmonised registration process throughout the EU;

-Information on voting rights in the most widely spoken languages of the EU mobile citizens;

-Possibility to register to vote when registering at the town hall;

-Awareness-raising campaigns and surveys targeting EU mobile citizens specifically, translated political programmes;

-Better educational programmes on EU citizenship (especially at school);

-Gender-balanced and translational lists of candidates for the European Parliament elections.

  • Citizens’ Wishes for new EU Citizenship Rights: the top three ideas (most voted by citizens) were:
  1. Have equal marriage and parental rights;
  2. Access bank funds without additional fees, transaction charges and conversion fees;
  3. Creating an EU Health Platform allowing free access to healthcare independently of location.
  • New Methods of Citizens’ Participation in the Democratic Life of the Union

The engagement method of crowdsourcing with citizens has viable potential to reduce the gap between political elites and citizens through co-decision-making:

-the method portrays citizens’ perspectives as experts of everyday life;-their perspectives help align government resources with citizens’ priorities;

-this increases both the legitimacy of the decisions taken and their ownership by citizens.

You can watch the recording here.