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Opinion Number: CDR 3536/2013
Commission: CIVEX
Status: Adopted
Date: 28/11/2013
To comment on the European Commission proposals for the strengthening to EU citizenship;
To reiterate the CoR positions on EU citizens' electoral rights;
To propose ways in which local and regional authorities can help and assist citizens in the exercise of the rights stemming from EU citizenship and to contribute to their strengthening.
This is one of the opinions elaborated in the course of 2013 and seen in the context of the CoR contribution to the 2013 as the European Year of Citizens. Along with the other opinions elaborated as part of the same work-stream (see immediately above) this opinion succeeded to raise awareness about the role of local and regional authorities in safeguarding and strengthening the rights of EU citizens.

It provided strong support to the free movement of EU citizens in the wake of the debate between the European Commission and certain Member States in the Council.

The opinion was referred to extensively in the context of the Joint Mayors' Conference on Free Movement, co-organised by the CoR and DG JUST in Brussels on 11 February 2014.

- underlines that free movement is a cornerstone for the EU's further economic and political development, opens professional and learning opportunities for EU citizens and creates closer bonds between Europeans and thus is a central element of Union citizenship;

- observes that EU citizenship separates the concept of citizenship from the national state and shifts the emphasis from individual membership of a political community to residence, to equal protection of individual, political and social rights, and to free movement as a European citizen;

- emphasises the importance of creating a real area of freedom, security and justice to serve citizens, in a world where people are more mobile, and notes that ensuring the smooth exercise by EU citizens of their right to free movement and residence is crucial, because it is the EU Treaty right which citizens value the most and see as the most important achievement of EU integration;

- notes that the difficulties faced by EU citizens in exercising their rights are not so much due to a legislative deficit at European level as to issues of transposing and implementing legislation at national level and points out that regional and local authorities will be asked to play a key role in the participatory processes to be put in place, so as to implement a real bottom-up approach in which citizens can make a substantial contribution to defining EU policies that give positive effect to their rights;

- commends the European Commission's proposal to use an e-training tool for local authorities to address the lack of knowledge of European citizens' rights at local and regional level and would like to work actively with the European Commission on designing and promoting this tool in the Member States;

- calls on every single Member State to make it easier for their citizens to exercise the right to vote and right to stand as candidates in national elections, irrespective of whether they reside or are staying in the country in question and believes that the time is ripe to begin or continue dialogue on extending EU citizens' right to vote to include regional and national elections of the country of residence.



Rapporteur's activities

Publication of opinion brochure

30 Jun

Rapporteur's activities

Presenting CoR activities linked to the European Year of Citizens - speech of Ms Jelena Drenjanin (SE/EPP) at the European Citizens Initiative Day 2014

14 Apr

European Parliament

The Parliament's PETI committee adopts the "EU Citizenship Report 2013. EU citizens: your rights, your future" which is subsequently adopted at the EP plenary session of 12 March

13 Feb

European Commission

Mr Antonio Costa, Chair of the CoR CIVEX commission, presents the opinion at the Joint Mayors' Conference on Free Movement organised jointly by DG JUST and CoR.

10 Feb

CoR Plenary Session

Opinion CDR 3536/2013 is adopted at the CoR plenary session

27 Nov

Rapporteur's activities

Rapporteur participates in the 10th European Integration Forum as a moderator on the workshop on empowerment of migrants

25 Nov

CoR Commission activity

Opinion on "Citizenship report 2013"! is adopted by the CIVEX commission

23 Sep

CoR Stakeholder Consultation

Rapporteur exchanges views with stakeholders from regional offices and associations

01 Jul

CoR Commission activity

Participation in ENVE commission meeting – Topical debate on the European Citizens’ Initiative on Water: access to water as a human right and the liberalisation of water services

18 Jun

European Commission

Publication of the Commission's Citizenship report - COM (2013) 269 final

07 May

CoR Commission activity


The CIVEX commission appoints Mr Theodoros Gkotsopoulos (EL/PES) as rapporteur of the opinion on "Citizeship report 2013"

21 Apr
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