Authors: Carmen Descamps, Gerrit Spriet and Francesca Strumia
European citizenship was introduced into the European legal order with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Complementing national citizenship, it grants a variety of rights to 512 million Europeans. These comprise freedom of movement, political participation, consular protection, involvement in EU policy making and a right to complaint and petition. However, it is apparent that the full potential of EU citizenship provisions remains untapped. In 2018, while seven out of ten Europeans felt that they were European citizens, only a slight majority knew about their citizenship rights.
Regarding EU citizens’ rights, the publication illustrates the case studies of the European elections 2019 and the challenges surrounding Brexit in enabling citizens of the Union to invoke their rights and to make full use of them. The analysis reveals that the whole range of EU citizenship rights is not sufficiently known among citizens; that Europe lacks a harmonised and user-friendly approach in rules and procedures for citizens’ political and electoral rights; and that European citizens would face a loss if they are not able to rely on citizenship rights in case of insufficient national protection.