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Summaries of EU Legislation

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EU citizenship

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
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EU citizenship


Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

Article 9 of the Treaty on European Union



Anyone who is a national of an EU country is automatically an EU citizen. The principle is enshrined in the EU's treaties and is a key factor in developing a European identity. EU citizenship does not replace national citizenship. It is additional to it and gives people specific rights.


EU citizenship gives people the right to

travel and live anywhere in the European Union

vote and stand as a candidate in European and local elections where they are living

diplomatic protection and consular support around the world from any other EU country

petition the European Parliament on any issue within the EU's responsibility

raise perceived cases of maladministration by any EU institution with the European Ombudsman

write to any EU institution in one of the EU's official languages and to receive a reply in the same language

access European Parliament, European Commission and Council documents under certain conditions

participate in public exams to enter the EU civil service.

The Lisbon Treaty introduced an additional form of public participation: the Citizens' Initiative. This allows 1 million citizens from ‘a significant number’ of EU countries to ask the Commission to table a legislative proposal in any area within the EU's responsibility.


EU citizenship is set out in Article 20 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and Article 9 of the Treaty on European Union.

last update 14.01.2016