EU kicks off European Year of Citizens (03/01/2013)
As we enter into 2013, the European Union kicks off the European Year of Citizens.
2013 marks the 20th anniversary of EU Citizenship, which was introduced by the Maastricht Treaty in 1993, and it is also one year before the European Parliament elections.
“We need the direct involvement of citizens in building a stronger and more political Union”, said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU's Justice Commissioner. “Union citizenship is more than a concept. It is a practical reality that brings tangible benefits to citizens”.
That is why the European Commission wants to explain what rights EU citizens have and how they can benefit from them. “European citizens must be able to voice their concerns and prepare the ground for future European elections”, Reding stressed.
To mark the European Year of Citizens 2013, a range of events, including hearings, conferences, education and awareness-raising campaigns, will be organised across the EU at Union, national, regional or local level. Events aimed at raising awareness among citizens about their rights, as well as making sure that people do not face any obstacles in exercising them.
A survey from 2010 showed that too many people still do not feel adequately informed about the different rights available to them: only 43% know the meaning of the term “citizen of the European Union” and almost half of European citizens (48%) indicate that they are “not well informed” about their rights.