Nearly 25 years after the concept of EU citizenship was first enshrined in the EU Maastricht Treaty, it is time for a thorough assessment of the key achievements and the pending challenges where more work remains to be done in order for citizens to fully reap the rights and privileges that come with it. In the last Citizenship Report issued in 2013 the European Commission put forward 12 concrete actions in six key areas to enhance ways in which citizens can exercise their EU rights: removing obstacles for workers, students and trainees in the EU; cutting red tape; protecting the more vulnerable, eliminating barriers to shopping; improving citizens’ awareness of their EU rights, and enhancing the participation of EU citizens in the EU democratic life.
Nowadays a wide majority of Europeans are familiar with the concept of EU citizenship, but only a little more than half of them know what it actually means and only two in five feel informed about the rights that come with it and the instruments available to enforce them in case these rights are not respected. On the other hand, free movement of people (and goods and services) across the EU remains one of the top benefits of EU citizenship perceived by citizens, as over three-quarters of Europeans express strong support for maintaining it at all costs in spite of the increasing issues of concern related to migration and terrorist threats.
Yet there still remain substantial obstacles and challenges for mobile EU citizens related either to lengthy or unclear administrative procedures or to a lack of information about their rights as EU citizens at national level.
These findings clearly show that while there have been some improvements regarding Europeans’ familiarity of their status as EU citizens, there are still important shortcomings to be addressed concerning the level of knowledge of the rights associated to it and their actual enforcement at national level.
This Conference will analyse the main achievements and challenges of EU citizenship in the context of the current political developments, and it will look into national examples of how the rights and values associated to it are practically implemented in the Member States. Invited representatives of civil society organisations active at national and/or European level will discuss trends and analyse existing tools and initiatives of civic engagement throughout the EU in view of formulating recommendations for fully tapping the potential of EU citizenship.
 Flash Eurobarometer 430 on European Union Citizenship, March 2016: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/document/files/2016-summary-flash-eurobarometer-430-citizenship_en.pdf
 Standard Eurobarometer 84, Autumn 2015: http://ec.europa.eu/COMMFrontOffice/PublicOpinion/index.cfm/ResultDoc/download/DocumentKy/70150
 Preliminary results of the public consultation on EU citizenship undertaken by the Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers from 14 September until 7 December 2015.