Wednesday, 30 May 2007

European citizenship as defined by Maastricht

Every person holding a nationality of a Member State is a citizen of the Union. A citizenship of the Union was established by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. It is included in Part Two (Articles 17–22) of the EC Treaty. The EU citizenship complements national citizenship of the Member States and does not replace it. Citizens of the Union enjoy rights conferred by the Treaty and they are subject to duties imposed thereby.
The importance of citizenship of the Union lies in the fact that the citizens of the Union have genuine rights under Community law. The core rights conferred by citizenship under Part Two of the EC Treaty are:

  • freedom of movement and the right of residence within the territory of the Member States;
  • right to vote and stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament and at municipal elections in the Member State of residence;
  • right to diplomatic and consular protection;
  • right of petition to the European Parliament; and
    right to refer to the Ombudsman.

Nationality of the Member States
The citizenship of the Union does not replace the national citizenship, but a nationality of Member States is entirely a matter for the Member States concerned, as the Declaration on nationality of a Member State appended to the Treaty of Maastricht confirms. It is therefore for each Member State, having due regard to the Community law, to lay down the conditions for acquisition and loss of nationality. The European Union does not have any competencies in that regard.

1 comment:

andrea cobis said...

From "Your Europe" - the portal to on-line European and national public services (


Every EU citizen residing in an EU country of which he/she is not a national has the right to vote and to stand as a candidate at municipal elections in his/her country of residence, under the same conditions as nationals of that country. The main rule is thus that EU citizens living in another EU country are treated as if they were nationals of the country in which they live.

If an EU country requires a minimum period of residence from its own nationals as a condition for participation in local elections, similar minimum period of residence can be required from non-national EU citizens. However, they are deemed to have fulfilled that condition where they have resided an equivalent period in another EU country.

It should be noticed that Community law guarantees the franchise only in local elections.
Right to vote and to stand as a candidate in regional elections or in national elections is covered by national legislation, and it depends thus of the EU country whether it grants the right to participate to regional or national elections to citizen of other EU countries.