Key proposals include making it easier for people to work and do training in another EU country; reducing excessive paperwork for EU citizens living and travelling in the EU; and eliminating barriers to cross-border shopping. During the European Year of Citizens the EU Citizenship Report is the Commission´s answer to the numerous calls from EU citizens who have shared problems they have experienced when travelling, moving to or shopping in another EU country.
“EU citizenship is the crown jewel of European integration. It is to Political Union what the euro is to our Economic and Monetary Union.
The EU Citizenship Report 2013 announces 12 new actions in six areas to strengthen citizens´ rights (see Annex for the full list of the 12 actions):
Removing obstacles for workers, students and trainees in the EU
- by looking into extending the right of jobseekers to receive unemployment benefits from their home country while they are looking for a job in another EU member state beyond the current mandatory three months to increase the mobility of workers; and
- by setting out a quality framework for traineeships that specifies the rights and obligations of the parties making sure that traineeships are not used as a form of ´unpaid employment´
Cutting red tape in the Member States
- by facilitating the acceptance of identity and residence documents when citizens want to travel or have to prove their identity in another EU country, including through optional uniform European documents that citizens could use in all EU countries; and
- by making it easier to recognise roadworthiness certificates for cars cross-border in the EU
Protecting the more vulnerable in the EU
- by developing an EU disability card to be mutually recognised across the EU making sure that the 80 million disabled people can also take advantage of the benefits that come with national cards (for example access to transport, tourism, culture and leisure) when exercising their right to free movement; and
- by proposing a set of laws to further strengthen citizens´ procedural rights, especially those of children and vulnerable citizens, when they are suspected or accused of a crime
Eliminating barriers to shopping in the EU
- by improving rules to settle cross-border disputes over small amounts when buying products online or in another EU country; the European Small Claims procedure can help consumers get their money back swiftly; and
- by working on an online tool that makes the purchase of digital products more transparent and that allows citizens to compare deals cross-border
Promoting the availability of targeted and accessible information about the EU
- by making e-training tools available to local administrations and providing citizen-friendly information about who to turn to to solve their problems.
Strengthening citizens’ participation in the democratic process
- by working on ways to enable EU citizens to keep their right to vote in national elections in their country of origin. The practice in some Member States of depriving their citizens of their right to vote once they move to another EU country effectively is tantamount to punishing citizens for having exercised their right to free movement.
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