In an adopted opinion largely based on enquiries received by the Your Europe Advice service, which ECAS manages on behalf of the Commission, the REFIT platform Stakeholders’ Group recognised many of the problems arising from a lack of harmonisation of identity documents that EU citizens face when exercising their right to free movement.
These include a lack of knowledge amongst national authorities of rights that are connected to residence documents, misconceptions about what constitute travel documents, and difficulties accessing employment, healthcare, social security and banking services.
The opinion was supported by the REFIT Government Group, with one Member State even proposing to discuss the issue within the Council’s preparatory structures.
The group acknowledged that “EU citizens can encounter difficulties with ID and residence documents” when moving to another Member State and supported “the recommendation that the Commission undertakes a feasibility study on the harmonisation of these documents.”
Such a study would assess technical, legal and financial parameters, such as the financial consequences for Member States.
The Commission will now respond to the opinion and report on its progress in the ‘Refit Scoreboard’.
Read the full opinion here