This site has been archived on (2015/08/19)

Your rights and how to use them


Overview of EU policies on EU citizenship

Everyone who is a national of one of the EU’s 27 member countries is automatically a citizen of the EU. EU Citizenship complements national citizenship and gives you some important rights.

EU Citizenship – your rights

The EU would like all EU citizens to be aware of their rights and able to fully enjoy them. These rights are spelled out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Movement and residence

EU citizens have the right to travel throughout the 28 EU countries and set up home in any of them. Some conditions apply. For example, when entering another EU country you may be asked to show identification, and to live in another EU country for more than three months, you must meet certain conditions depending on whether you are working, studying, etc.


Every EU citizen has the right to vote and stand as a candidate in elections for the European Parliament or in municipal elections in whichever EU country you live, under the same conditions as nationals.


The right to petition allows EU citizens to raise concerns or complaints with the European Parliament. You can ask the Parliament to address either a personal need or grievance, or a matter of public interest. The subject must fall within the EU’s sphere of activity, and must concern you directly.

For grievances concerning ‘mal-administration’ by an EU institution or body, you can complain to the Ombudsman.

EU citizens can also contact EU institutions and advisory bodies directly, and you are entitled to receive a reply in any of the EU’s 24 official languages.

Consular protection

When in a non-EU country and in need of help, as an EU citizen you are entitled to consular protection from the embassy or consulate of any other EU country. Assistance is provided in situations including death, accident or illness, arrest or detention, violent crime and repatriation.

Citizens’ initiative

The European Citizens’ Initiative allows you to ask the European Commission to prepare a proposal for a legal act. The petition must be signed by at least 1 million citizens from at least one quarter of EU countries.

Active citizenship

The EU encourages all citizens and organisations to play an active role in the development of the EU. The Europe for Citizens programme funds initiatives in areas such as participation and democracy at EU level, intercultural dialogue, employment, social cohesion and sustainable development, and the societal impact of EU policies.

The Fundamental Rights and Citizenship programme promotes the rights of EU citizens.

Find out more.


*This text originates from the EU's official website:  Back to overview