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Introduction. The project of European integration, since its inception, has strived for an “ever closer union among the people of Europe”
The project of European integration, since its inception, has strived for an “ever closer union among the people of Europe”. The concept of citizenship of the European Union1, introduced by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, added a new political dimension to the European integration. Every person holding the nationality of an EU Member State is now also automatically a citizen of the European Union. EU citizenship does not replace national citizenship. Instead, it confers upon all EU citizens an additional set of rights, guaranteed by the EU Treaties, which lie at the heart of their everyday lives.
Therefore, habitual EU citizen have the following rights:
1. move and reside freely within the EU;
2. vote for and stand as a candidate in European Parliament and municipal elections;
3. be protected by the diplomatic and consular authorities of any other EU country;
4. petition the European Parliament and complain to the European Ombudsman.
These rights apply to all EU citizens.
EU citizens are entitled to other rights including:
- the right to contact and receive a response from any EU institution in one of the EU's official languages;
- the right to access European Parliament, European Commission and Council documents under certain conditions;
- the right of equal access to the EU Civil Service
The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty strengthened the notion of EU citizenship in several ways. First of all, the right of EU citizens in third countries to enjoy protection by the consular and diplomatic authorities of all Member States is fixed as a clear individual right. Moreover, the Lisbon Treaty complements citizenship rights by introducing a new right, the Citizens’ Initiative, which enables one million citizens to invite the Commission to bring forward legislative proposals.
EU citizenship rights are firmly anchored in primary EU law and substantially developed in secondary law.