Citizenship of the European Union was introduced by the Maastricht Treaty signed in 1992, and in force as of 1993. It exists alongside national citizenship and provides additional rights to nationals of Member States of the European Union.
The rights of EU citizens are protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, the purpose of which is to ensure that all the Member States and European institutions defend and promote measures for equality, justice, dignity and citizens’ rights. Read more in this section about your economic, social, political and human rights, and learn what to expect and how to behave in the different situations in which you may become involved.
The right to residence for nationals of the two most recent EU members (Romania and Bulgaria) may be limited by member states. However, such limitations can only be imposed in the seven years following those countries' accession, i.e. until the end of 2013. At the year 2013 the restrictions by these two EU Member States shall be lifted permanently.
Article 21 Freedom to move and reside
Article 21 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union states that
Every citizen of the Union shall have the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, subject to the limitations and conditions laid down in this Treaty and by the measures adopted to give it effect.
U Citizenship is destined to be the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States
The ECJ has held that this Article confers a directly effective right upon citizens to reside in another Member State. Before the case of Baumbast, it was widely assumed that non-economically active citizens had no rights to residence deriving directly from the EU Treaty, only from directives created under the Treaty. In Baumbast, however, the ECJ held that (the then) Article 18 of the EC Treaty granted a generally applicable right to residency, which is limited by secondary legislation, but only where that secondary legislation is proportionate. Member States can distinguish between nationals and Union citizens but only if the provisions satisfy the test of proportionality. Migrant EU citizens have a "legitimate expectation of a limited degree of financial solidarity... having regard to their degree of integration into the host society" Length of time is a particularly important factor when considering the degree of integration.
The ECJ's case law on citizenship has been criticised for subjecting an increasing number of national rules to the proportionality assessment. Article 45 Freedom of movement to work.
State employment reserved exclusively for nationals varies immensely between member states. For example, training as a barrister in Britain and Ireland is not reserved for nationals, while the corresponding French course qualifies one as a 'juge' and hence can only be taken by French citizens.
It is not unusual, however, for new member states to have to undergo transitional regimes during which their nationals only enjoy restricted access to the labour markets in other member states. This most recently occurred on the 2004 and 2007 enlargements. In the 2004 enlargement three "old" member states—Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom—decided to allow unrestricted access to their labour markets. And as of December 2009, all but two member states—Austria and Germany—have completely dropped controls. These restrictions will expire on 1 May 2011.
All pre-2004 member states, bar Finland and Sweden, imposed restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens following the 2007 enlargement, as did two member states that joined in 2004: Malta and Hungary. These restrictions will expire on 1 January 2014.