The fact that you are a citizen of Romania or of any other EU country automatically gives you the status of an EU citizen. As such, you can enjoy many of the rights provided by EU law, in particular the right to move freely throughout Europe to live, work, study or even retire.

In addition, when traveling outside the EU and your country does not have diplomatic representation in the destination country, you can request assistance and protection from the embassy or consulate of any other EU Member State.

EU citizenship grants you certain rights. These rights are listed in Articles 18 and 25 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

European citizens have the right:

  • to move and reside freely within the EU;
  • not to be discriminated against on the grounds of their nationality;
  • to vote and stand in municipal and European Parliament elections, regardless of where they live in the EU; and
  • to be assisted by the embassy or consulate of another EU country when they are in a non-EU country and their country of affiliation does not have an embassy or consulate in that territory. In these cases, the consulate or embassy in question must treat all EU citizens exactly as if they were their own citizens.

The right to petition

European citizens also have the right to petition the European Parliament. Petitions must address issues that directly affect them and fall within the Union’s areas of activity. Petitions can be submitted individually or collectively.

This right is enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Article 44). In fact, it is not just EU citizens who enjoy this right: anyone living in the EU can petition to the European Parliament. Petitions are received and examined by the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions.

The right to file a complaint for maladministration

European citizens have the right to ask the European Ombudsman to investigate cases of maladministration regarding the work of institutions, bodies, offices or agencies. Again, not only do EU citizens enjoy this right, but anyone living in the EU can apply to the European Ombudsman.

European Citizens’ Initiative

European citizens can also launch a European Citizens ‘Initiative (European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is an important tool for participatory democracy in the EU). Member States may invite the Commission to propose a legal act in accordance with the EU Treaties.)

Created by the Lisbon Treaty, this initiative means that one million citizens from at least a quarter of the EU Member States can ask the European Commission to submit a proposal for an EU piece of legislation. The Commission must verify that the proposal concerns a matter for which it is authorized to intervene.

Citizenship of the Union does not suppress any of the rights inherent in national citizenship. It simply confers additional rights that are exercised, either at Union level or at Member State level. Citizenship of the Union is a corollary of the nationality of a Member State. “Any person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the European Union.”

Ioana Răduțoiu

Legal intern R&R Partners Bucharest

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