All 500 million Europeans benefit daily from the rights they acquire with EU membership, as does the EU’s economy. The European Commission has set up web portals such as Europe Direct and Your Europe to provide 'one-stop-shop' information system on Union citizens' rights. It also offers problem solving tools, such as SOLVIT, to help Union citizens to better make use of and defend their rights. And yet the EU’s own research reveals that too many of us still do not fully understand or use our rights as EU citizens.
On May 8th the Commission adopted the 2013 EU Citizenship Report, putting forward 12 new actions to remove obstacles to citizens' enjoyment of their EU rights. Take a look at these by clicking on the image below.
European Year of the Citizens aims to publicise the rights that come with EU citizenship, particularly our right to move and reside freely in other EU countries, and to generate debate to bring the EU closer to its citizens. You can read more about the Year of Citizens on the European Commission’s official website.
The Irish Presidency launched the Year of Citizens in Dublin on 10 January, at a formal inauguration by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, and President of the Commission José Manuel Barroso. This was followed by a "Citizens' Dialogue" with EC Vice- President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Viviane Reding, and Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, involving some 200 citizens. Watch extracts from the launch of the Year of Citzens below.
During the Year of Citizens there will be a range of information activities to inform citizens of their rights and responsibilities as European Union citizens, to bring the EU closer to the citizen and explain what the EU is doing for them, to open up a broad debate on European identity, and to encourage mobility among young people. The European Commission will encourage dialogue between all levels of government, civil society and business at events and conferences around Europe. Activities will also be organized at grassroots level, by citizens and civil society organisations. This process of dialogue will help to build a vision of how the EU should be in 2020.