The Rights and Duties That Come Under European Citizenship

Posted by passportonlineservice on April 3rd, 2019

Anyone having the nationality of a Member State is recognized as a citizen of the Union. EU citizenship is a citizenship called "superposition".

According to Article 9 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, "A citizen of the Union is any person having the nationality of a Member State ".

Individuals only acquire citizenship of the European Union through the state of which they are nationals. European citizenship is therefore not open to residents of non-EU origin, even if they are permanently settled, unless of course they obtain the nationality of one of the Member States.

One of the original features of European integration is the important role it gives citizens. Normally, in conventional international organizations, only States are directly concerned by the decisions adopted (as for example at the United Nations). In the European Union, citizens have their own legal recognition, alongside states.

The concept of European citizenship was introduced by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.

The rights and duties that come under European citizenship

The rights there are grouped into six main chapters.

  1. Dignity -Human dignity, right to life, right to the integrity of the person, prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibition of slavery and forced labor.
  2. Freedom -Rights to liberty and security, respect for private and family life, protection of personal data, right to marry and right to found a family, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of the arts and sciences, right to education, freedom of work and the right to work, freedom of enterprise, property rights, right to asylum, protection in case of expulsion, expulsion and extradition.
  3. Equality -Equality in law, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, equality between men and women, rights of the child, rights of the elderly, integration of persons with disabilities.
  4. Solidarity -Right to information and consultation of workers within the company,  right of access to placement services, protection in case of unjustified dismissal, fair and just working conditions, prohibition of child labor and protection of young people at work, family life and working life, social security and social assistance, protection of health, access to services of general economic interest, protection of the environment, protection of consumers.
  5. Citizenship -Right to vote and stand for election to the European Parliament, right to vote and stand for municipal elections, right of access to documents, European Ombudsman, right of petition, freedom of movement and residence diplomatic and consular protection.
  6. Justice -Right to an effective remedy and to an impartial tribunal, presumption of innocence and rights of the defense, principles of the legality and proportionality of offenses and penalties, right not to be tried or punished twice for the same offense


EU citizens have jurisdictional and non-jurisdictional means to defend their rights against the acts of the European institutions.

  • The tribunal

The General Court of the European Union deals with all the remedies of individuals against the acts of the European institutions of which they are the addressees or who concern them. There are different types of remedies. The Court of Justice may be seized by individuals of appeals in cassation, against decisions of the Tribunal during these appeals. When a dispute in a national court involves rules of Community law, the judge may seek the opinion of the Court of Justice.

  • The European Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman receives and investigates complaints from citizens against acts of maladministration by the Community institutions. It can also receive complaints from any person, company or association residing in a Member State. If an illegality is found, the mediator seizes the institution implicated and sends him a draft recommendation that the latter is free to follow. The European Ombudsman is independent and is elected by the European Parliament.

  • The right of citizen initiative

Any European citizen has the possibility to address a proposal directly to the European Commission. An instrument of direct democracy, the European Citizens' Initiative enables one million citizens from at least a quarter of the Member States to ask the European Commission to propose legislation in the areas that fall within its remit.

  • The right of petition

Every citizen of the European Union has the right to petition the European Parliament in the form of a complaint or petition on a matter within the European Union's field of competence. Petitions are examined by the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament, which decides on their admissibility and is responsible for their processing.

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