Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Five million Union citizens without full political rights

There is a clear and broad understanding of a breach in the fundamental rights granted to Union citizens as a consequence of the exercise of the right to free movement, as recognized by the "Fourth Report on Citizenship of the Union" (1 May 2001 – 30 April 2004) - {SEC(2004)1280}
Recurrent petitions, parliamentary questions and public correspondence reveal the concerns of many Union citizens regarding a gap in electoral rights at the present level of Community law: Union citizens may still be deprived of important civic rights as a result of the exercise of the right to free movement, namely the right to participate in national or regional elections. The Member States do not grant electoral rights at national or regional elections to nationals of other Member States residing in their territory. Before enlargement, this situation concerned about five million Union citizens of voting age who resided in another Member State.

The need to strengthen the rights of Union citizens must also be assessed in the light of the results of Intergovernmental Conference that agreed on the Constitutional Treaty, Article III-13 of which corresponds to the existing Article 22 of the EC Treaty. In any case, the following issues can be raised as potential subjects for strengthening the rights of Union citizens:
– The Commission draws attention to complaints related to the lack of the right of non-national Union citizens to vote and to stand as a candidate in national or regional elections in the Member State of residence. However, decisions concerning possible measures to be adopted under Article 22(2) of the EC Treaty still require careful consideration.

Let's read it again.

At least five million Union citizens of voting age who reside in another Member State have become a sort of second-division citizens, only because they exercised the right of free movement, which was granted to them by the Union itself!!

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