Category Archives: Citizenship of the Union

Any person who is a national of a Member State of the European Union (EU) is a European citizen. EU citizenship thus complements national citizenship without replacing it. An integral part of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, EU citizenship confers nationals of Member States a series of rights. These include the rights to appeal to the Ombudsman, initiate legislative proposals (citizens’ initiative), and to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal and European elections. Citizens of the Union also enjoy freedom of movement and residence within the territory of the EU, as well as diplomatic and consular protection outside the Union from any Member State.

Effective consular protection

Effective consular protection

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Effective consular protection

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Effective consular protection (Action Plan 2007-2009)

Participating in municipal elections: the right to vote and to stand as a candidate

Participating in municipal elections: the right to vote and to stand as a candidate

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Participating in municipal elections: the right to vote and to stand as a candidate

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Participating in municipal elections: the right to vote and to stand as a candidate

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 94/80/EC of 19 December 1994 laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections by citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of which they are not nationals [See amending acts].

Summary

Community nationals residing in a Member State other than their Member State of origin may vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections. This Directive establishes the arrangements for exercising this right.

Ensuring the same conditions without harmonising electoral systems

The objective of the Directive is not to harmonise Member States’ electoral systems, but to ensure that nationals of both the Member State concerned and other Member States can exercise the right to vote and to stand as a candidate under the same conditions. The Directive applies to municipal elections only.

The main purpose of the Directive is to abolish the nationality requirement imposed by a number of Member States in their national electoral law. The Community legislation does not affect the Member States’ provisions on the rights of their own nationals or third-country nationals residing in their territory.

Voting and standing as a candidate in municipal elections

Municipal elections are elections by direct universal suffrage at basic local government unit level. These units are listed for each Member State in the Annex to the Directive.

The persons who may vote and stand as candidates in municipal elections in their Member State of residence of which they are not nationals are those who:

  • are European Union citizens, i.e. persons with the nationality of a Member State of the European Union (EU);
  • are resident in the Member State where they would like to vote or stand as a candidate;
  • comply with the conditions imposed by the national legislation of the Member State of residence on its nationals concerning the right to vote and stand in municipal elections. The principle of equality and non-discrimination between national and Community voters and candidates must be observed (European citizens to satisfy the same conditions as nationals of the Member State of residence).

In order to take part in elections, citizens must apply to be entered in the electoral roll of the Member State of residence as an expression of their interest in voting. The Member States must make the necessary arrangements to enable them to be entered on the electoral roll in due time before polling day. Community nationals must provide the same supporting documents as national voters. In Member States where voting is compulsory, Community voters entered on the electoral roll are also covered by this obligation.

There is nothing in the Directive to prevent persons voting or standing as a candidate both in their Member State of residence and in their home Member State. However, Member States may provide that the holding of elected municipal office in the Member State of residence is incompatible with the holding of offices in other Member States which are equivalent to those which give rise to incompatibility in the Member State of residence.

Restrictions on the right to stand as a candidate

Member States may refuse Community citizens the right to stand as a candidate if they:

  • have lost the right to stand as a candidate under the law of their Member State of origin as a result of an individual decision under civil or criminal law;
  • cannot produce a declaration as referred to in Article 9 of the Directive (nationality and residence declaration, declaration of non-deprivation of the right to stand as a candidate and, in certain cases, an attestation from the competent administrative authorities, production of an identity document, etc.).

Member States may also reserve the office of elected head, deputy or member of the governing college of the executive for its own nationals if these persons are elected to hold office for the duration of their mandate, while ensuring that any measures adopted in this area are appropriate, necessary and proportionate. Member States may also provide that citizens of the Union who are elected members of a representative council may not take part in designating delegates who can vote in a parliamentary assembly or in electing the members of that assembly.

The Directive provides for derogations for:

  • any Member State where the proportion of Union citizens of voting age who reside there, but are not its own nationals, exceeds 20 % of the total electorate;
  • Union citizens who already have the right to vote in elections to the national parliament of their Member State of residence.

Amendment to the Directive following enlargement of the European Union

The Annex to the Directive, which lists the basic local government units in each Member State, has been amended on several occasions, following the accession of new Member States to the European Union: Austria, Finland and Sweden on 1 January 1995, the eight countries of central and eastern Europe and Cyprus and Malta on 1 May 2004, and Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January 2007.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 94/80/EC 20.1.1995 1.1.1996 OJ L 368 of 31.12.1994
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 96/30/EC 22.5.1996 OJ L 122 of 22.5.1996
Act concerning the conditions of accession of
the Czech Republic,
the Republic of Estonia,
the Republic of Cyprus,
the Republic of Latvia,
the Republic of Lithuania,
the Republic of Hungary,
the Republic of Malta,
the Republic of Poland,
the Republic of Slovenia and
the Slovak Republic
and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded
Annex II: List referred to in Article 20 of the Act of Accession – 2. Free movement for persons – D. Citizens’ rights
1.5.2004 OJ L 236 of 23.9.2003
Directive 2006/106/EC 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006

Related Acts

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council, of 22 August 2005, on granting a derogation pursuant to Article 19(1) of the EC Treaty, presented under Article 12(4) of Directive 94/80/EC on the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections [COM (2005) 382 final – not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission concludes in its report that the circumstances warranting the granting to Luxembourg of a derogation pursuant to Article 19(1) of the Treaty and to Article 12(1) of the Directive still apply since the grounds for the derogation are still valid. The report notes that according to data provided by the Luxembourg authorities, the number of non-national citizens of the Union residing in Luxembourg was 133 831. The total number of citizens of the Union of voting age residing in Luxembourg was 356 274. It follows that the proportion of non-national citizens of the Union of voting age residing in Luxembourg was 37.6 % of the total number of citizens of the Union of voting age residing there. This is considerably higher than the threshold laid down in the Directive, i.e. 20 %.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of Directive 94/80/EC on the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in municipal elections [COM (2002) 260 final – not published in the Official Journal].
Article 13 of Directive 94/80/EC requires the Commission to submit its report within a year of the holding in all the Member States of municipal elections organised on the basis of the Directive in question and, where appropriate, to propose adjustments.
France applied the Directive for the first time to the municipal elections held on 11 and 18 March 2001. In the above report, the Commission evaluates the de jure and de facto application of the Directive from 1996 to 2001.

The Member States notified the national implementing measures to the Commission, which then sent them a questionnaire in order to obtain detailed and uniform information on the application of the Directive in practice. All the Member States except Denmark and France replied to the questionnaire.

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on granting a derogation pursuant to Article 19(1) of the EC Treaty, presented under Article 12(4) of Directive 94/80/EC [COM (1999) 597 final – not published in the Official Journal].

In its report adopted on 22 November 1999 the Commission examined whether the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was still eligible for the derogation under Article 12(1) of the Directive.
That provision enables Member States to grant derogations from the right to vote on condition that the proportion of non-national citizens of the Union of voting age who reside in a given Member State exceeds 20 % of the total number of citizens of the Union of voting age residing there.
Following a check of the corresponding statistical data, the Commission concluded that the reasons which warranted the granting of the derogation to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg still prevailed and that it was therefore not necessary to propose any adjustments.

Reports on citizenship of the Union

Reports on citizenship of the Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reports on citizenship of the Union

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Reports on citizenship of the Union

Document or Iniciative

Second Report from the European Commission of 27 May 1997 on Citizenship of the Union, presented to the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions [COM(97)230 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The second report follows up the Commission’s first report on citizenship of the Union [COM(93) 0702 final], which was presented on 21 December 1993 in accordance with former Article 8 E, shortly after the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty on 1 November 1993. The Commission reviews the new rights introduced by the Maastricht Treaty in terms of European citizenship, then discusses the rights conferred prior to the Treaty concerning free movement, and lastly stresses the need to improve citizens’ awareness of and access to their rights.

There are three categories of new rights:

  • the right to vote and stand for election in local and European elections;
  • the right to diplomatic and consular protection;
  • the right to out-of-court methods for the protection of citizens’ rights.

With regard to the right to vote and to stand for election, this now applies to all citizens of the Union residing in another Member State of which they are not nationals, as far as European Parliament elections are concerned. However, this was far from being the case in 1996 for local elections. By 1 January 1997 only eight Member States had fully implemented Directive (EC) No 94/80 on municipal elections. In order to counteract the low participation rate recorded at the European elections of 1994 and of 1995/1996 in the new Member States, the Commission proposes two measures:

  • improving the information to be provided in good time to citizens, through campaigns such as ‘Citizens First’;
  • promoting the participation of citizens in the political life of their country of residence.

With regard to the right to diplomatic and consular protection, this right founded on the provisions of the Treaty (Decision of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 19 December 1995 introducing this protection and Decision of 6 July 1996 on the establishment of an emergency travel document) had not yet been introduced in 1997.

Lastly, the out-of-court methods for the protection of EU citizens’ rights comprise two parts:

  • the right to petition the European Parliament;
  • the right to apply to the Ombudsman.

The right to petition, which is open to all persons legally residing in the Union, whether or not citizens of one of the EU Member States, generates a constant influx of petitions. Between the end of the 1993/1994 parliamentary term and the middle of the 1996/1997 parliamentary year, a total of 4 131 petitions were addressed to the European Parliament.

The first European Ombudsman, Jacob Söderman of Finland, was appointed on 12 July 1995 and performed the duties of ombudsman until 2003. From the time he was appointed until the end of December 1996, he received 1 140 complaints. In 1996, he initiated three investigations on information and transparency. On 1 April 2003, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros took up the post of European Ombudsman.

In the second part, the report points out that citizens still face difficulties when exercising their right to freedom of movement and of residence, primarily as a result of incorrect or particularly restrictive administrative procedures. Furthermore, the right of residence is still subject to different provisions which apply to different categories of citizens, since the secondary Community legislation consists of two Regulations and nine Directives, excluding the provisions on social security.

However, as the EC Treaty does not provide for a common legal basis, it is not possible to adopt a single set of rules. Therefore, the Commission recommends revising Article 8 A (now Article 18), upgrading it from a supplementary legal basis to a specific legal basis for free movement and right of residence.

Lastly, with regard to citizens’ awareness of and access to their rights, the Commission proposes two measures:

  • a permanent effort to provide citizens with simple and factual information about their rights (‘Citizens First’ initiative launched on 29 November 1996, useful guides, an information service);
  • a greater effort on the part of the Commission and the Member States in order to ensure effective enforcement of these rights (contact points for citizens in the Member States, increased cooperation among national administrations in respect of citizens’ rights, setting up of bodies for the amicable settlement of problems, Commission follow-ups on the application of Community law and complaints).

Related Acts

Fifth Report from the European Commission of 15 February 2008 on Citizenship of the Union [COM(2008)85 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

In this report, which covers the period from 1 May 2004 to 30 June 2007, the Commission takes stock of the application of existing provisions on citizenship of the Union and examines whether it is necessary to strengthen the rights of the Union’s citizens.

The Commission focuses on the ‘legal core’ of citizens’ rights – the right to move and reside freely within the EU, the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections in the Member State of residence, the right to diplomatic and consular protection in third countries, the right to petition the European Parliament and the right to apply to the Ombudsman.

In particular the right to freedom of movement and the right to freedom of residence seem to have been applied inequitably throughout the EU. This would appear to have been confirmed by the number of questions raised as the result of alleged violations of these rights which citizens have reported to the Commission. However, the SOLVIT network provides an effective means of resolving citizens’ cross-border problems pragmatically and quickly (within ten weeks). This network was set up in July 2002 by the Commission and the Member States. While monitoring the uniform application of Community law by the Member States, the Commission also encourages the use of alternative mechanisms to find effective, successful and less cumbersome ways of resolving disputes and dealing with citizens’ problems. 

Fourth Report from the European Commission of 26 October 2004 on Citizenship of the Union [COM(2004)695 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

In this fourth report on Union citizenship covering the period from 1 May 2001 to 30 April 2004, the Commission concludes that the Community rules on the rights of Union citizens are on the whole applied correctly and without serious problems. The Member States have implemented the secondary legislation in this area and remaining problems are due to incorrect application and practices rather than to the failure of national legislation to comply with Community legislation.

The Commission stresses that information concerning the proper interpretation of Community rules and the proper application of citizens’ rights is crucial. Information and communication activities must be targeted both at Union citizens and at national authorities administering the issues relating to the rights in question.

With a view to strengthening the rights of Union citizens, the Commission:

  • draws attention to complaints related to the fact that Union citizens who are not nationals of their Member State of residence do not have the right to vote or to stand as a candidate in national or regional elections in that Member State;
  • bearing in mind that the principle of the free movement of persons has been extended to Switzerland and is also guaranteed in the European Economic Area, suggests that citizens of the contracting parties be granted the right to vote and to stand as a candidate in local elections in their country of residence;
  • examines the possibility of harmonising standards and procedures governing the repatriation of mortal remains.

Third Report from the European Commission of 7 September 2001 on Citizenship of the Union [COM(2001)506 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The third report focuses on the rights provided for in the second part of the EC Treaty. However, it includes two significant advances in areas closely related to citizenship, the proclamation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights (at the Nice European Council in December 2000) and the adoption by the Commission of the proposal for a Directive on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.

Report from the European Commission on Citizenship of the Union [COM(93)702 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Follow-up to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons

Follow-up to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Follow-up to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Follow-up to the recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 1 July 1998 on the follow-up to recommendations of the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons

Summary

On 14 January 1996, the Commission had requested the High-Level Panel on the Free Movement of Persons, chaired by Simone Veil, to identify the problems still arising in this area, to evaluate them and to propose solutions. On 18 March 1997, the High-Level Panel presented its report which makes over eighty recommendations in the seven main areas of interest to citizens of the Union wishing to move within the Community area. The recommendations dealt with entry and residence, access to employment, social rights and family status, tax and financial status, cultural rights and the particular situation of nationals from non-member countries.

A large number of the Panel’s recommendations have been incorporated by the Commission into its Action Plan for the Single Market of June 1997 and into its more specific Action Plan for the Free Movement of Workers of November 1997.

This communication focuses, in particular, on two aspects of free movement examined by the High-Level Panel: first, the rights of entry and residence, and second, the need to improve citizens’ knowledge about their rights.

With regard to the rights of entry and residence, the communication reports that current Community legislation was originally drawn up for workers and their families who wanted to move to another Member State either permanently or for a very long time. This legislation no longer applies to the increasing number of people who wish to exercise their right to mobility for a limited period or on a part-time basis (students, trainees, young volunteers, workers on temporary placements, mobile self-employed persons, frontier workers and retired persons with more than one residence).

Furthermore, by introducing into Article 8A (current Article 18) the concept of citizenship, the Maastricht Treaty generalised, for the benefit of all citizens and not just those pursuing an economic activity, the rights to enter, to reside and to stay in the territory of another Member State. From this point of view, these rights should be formalised in a common body of legislation.

In order to achieve this objective, the Commission proposes four series of actions :

– to create, in so far as possible, a single set of rules on free movement within the meaning of Article 8A (present Article 18) for all citizens of the Union and the members of their families;

– to take a new approach to the right of residence, in particular, by limiting the obligation to hold a residence permit to situations where this is justified;

– to clarify the status of the family members of an EU citizen who are nationals of non-member countries;

– clearer restrictions regarding the possibility of curtailing the exercise of the right to reside by a citizen of the EU.

Secondly the communication further highlights the need to improve citizens’ knowledge about their rights under Community Legislation and to provide better training and information for all those involved in exercising the right of free movement. The Commission points out the following steps already taken in order to achieve this goal:

– launch at the Cardiff European Council on 15 and 16 June 1998 of the “Dialogue with Citizens and Businesses”, which follows up and further develops the “Citizens First” initiative;

– development and consolidation of the Euro-jus network, an informal system providing legal advice and assistance to persons faced with difficulties in interpreting or applying Community law;

– continuation and further development of the Karolus, Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet and Grotius programmes.

Lastly, in the communication’s Annex, there is a detailed review of the follow-up to all the recommendations made by the High-Level Panel.

Making citizenship work: programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation

Making citizenship work: programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Making citizenship work: programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Making citizenship work: programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation

The Commission proposes developing European citizenship as a main priority for EU action. To this end, it is necessary to make citizenship a reality. With this in mind, the Commission Communication proposes to update and modify several programmes due to end in 2006. These are programmes in the fields of youth, culture, audiovisual and civic participation.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission – Making citizenship work: fostering European culture and diversity through programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation [COM(2004) 154 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The concept of “European citizenship” was established by the Maastricht Treaty, which specifies that citizenship of the Union shall complement and not replace National citizenship. The reality is that many citizens regard the Union as merely a remote political and economic entity. With the enlargements of 2004 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia) and 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania), the total population of the Union will approach 500 million, representing an immense richness of cultural, social and linguistic diversity. In light of these developments, Europe’s citizens must have an opportunity to experience a feeling of belonging to the Union.

Action to promote EU citizenship will consist of four strands:

  • youth;
  • culture;
  • media;
  • civic participation.

The aim of these measures is to update and modernise several programmes which are scheduled to end in 2006.

Actions in the field ofyouth

The aim of the new Youth programme is to promote experiences of European citizenship among young people aged 13 to 30. It is also intended to promote solidarity and develop young people’s sense of initiative, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.

In order to achieve these objectives, the programme will include five separate and complementary strands:

  • Youth for Europe: exchanges, mobility and initiatives for young people;
  • European Voluntary Service: it is planned that 10 000 volunteers per year will take part in a non-profit-making or unpaid activity in another Member State or third country;
  • Youth of the World: the programme will be open to cooperation with third countries;
  • socio-educational instructors and support systems: training, information, exchange of best practice among instructors;
  • support for political cooperation: cooperation on youth policy.

These programmes are planned for the period 2007-2013.

Actions in the field ofculture

The programme which will follow on from Culture 2000 will focus on certain priorities: the transnational mobility of people working in the cultural sector, the transnational circulation of works of art, and intercultural dialogue.

Three strands of action are planned:

  • direct support for cultural cooperation projects (around 1 400 projects are envisaged for the period 2007-2013, including 80 multiannual cultural cooperation focal points);
  • support for European cultural cooperation organisations (each year, around 50 networks or organisations of European interest);
  • support for studies and information on cultural cooperation issues.

The overall result will be hundreds of European cultural operators working together each year on a transnational basis and reaching millions of citizens.

Actions in theaudiovisualsector

MEDIA 2007 is intended to replace the two current programmes MEDIA Plus and MEDIA Training. Its global objectives will be to preserve and enhance European cultural diversity and audiovisual heritage, increase the circulation of European audiovisual works and make the sector more competitive.

The programme will support projects in the pre-production (acquiring skills and competence, development) and post-production (distribution, promotion, pilot projects/digital technology) phases.

MEDIA 2007 will aim to bring together 1 500 audiovisual operators each year and to increase the market share of European films distributed outside their country of origin from the current 11% to 20% by 2013.

Civic participation

The civic participation programme has just been launched and will be concluded at the end of 2006. However, it would be premature at this stage to outline specific proposals. A legislative proposal will be tabled by the European Commission in early 2005.

The objectives of the programme are to promote the values and objectives of the Union, to bring citizens closer to the EU and to encourage them to engage more frequently with its institutions. The programme is intended for all those involved in civil society and it aims to involve citizens closely in reflection and discussion on the construction of the European Union, to intensify links and exchanges between citizens from the countries participating in the programme, for example through town-twinning, and to encourage initiatives from bodies involved in promoting active and participatory citizenship.

Related Acts

Decision No 1719/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 establishing theprogramme for the period 2007 to 2013 [Official Journal L 327 of 24.11.2006].

Decision No 1855/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 establishing theProgramme (2007 to 2013) [Official Journal L 372 of 27.12.2006].

Decision No 1718/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 concerning the implementation of a programme of support for the European audiovisual sector () [Official Journal L 327 of 24.11.2006].

Decision No 1904/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 establishing for the period 2007 to 2013 the programmeto promote active European citizenship [Official Journal L 378 of 27.12.2006].

 

Europe for Citizens

Europe for Citizens

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Europe for Citizens

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Europe for Citizens (2007-13)

Document or Iniciative

Decision No 1904/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 establishing for the period 2007 to 2013 the programme ‘Europe for Citizens’ to promote active European citizenship [See amending act(s)].

Summary

With a view to actively involving the public in the process of European integration, this programme is intended to encourage cooperation between citizens and citizens’ organisations in various countries. They can thus come together and take action in a European environment that respects their diversity.

Before publishing this decision, the Commission undertook an extensive public consultation from December 2004 to February 2005 and then organised a consultative forum on 3 and 4 February 2005. The online consultation resulted in more than a thousand responses, 700 of which were from organisations and some 300 from individuals. This programme for 2007-13 follows on from the Community action programme to promote active European citizenship (2004-06).

Objectives

The programme’s general objectives are as follows:

  • giving citizens the opportunity to interact and participate in constructing an ever closer Europe that is open to the world, united in and enriched through its cultural diversity;
  • developing a European identity among European citizens based on recognised common values, history and culture;
  • fostering a sense of ownership of the European Union (EU) among its citizens;
  • enhancing tolerance and mutual understanding between European citizens and respecting and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity, while contributing to intercultural dialogue.

Its specific objectives are to:

  • bring together people from local communities across Europe to share and exchange experiences, opinions and values, to learn from history and to build for the future;
  • foster action, debate and reflection related to European citizenship and democracy through cooperation between civil society organisations at European level;
  • make the idea of Europe more tangible for its citizens by promoting and celebrating Europe’s values and achievements, while preserving the memory of its past;
  • encourage the balanced integration of citizens and civil society organisations from all participating countries, contributing to intercultural dialogue and bringing to the fore both Europe’s diversity and its unity, with particular attention to activities with Member States that have recently joined the EU.

The programme’s objectives must be reflected in four types of action:

Action 1: “Active citizens for Europe”

This action involves citizens directly by means of town-twinning activities and citizens’ projects to debate European issues and develop mutual understanding through direct participation. In order to improve town-twinning and citizens’ projects, it is also necessary to develop support measures to exchange best practices, to pool experiences between stakeholders at local and regional levels and to develop new skills, for example through training. As an indication, at least 45 % of the total budget allocated to the programme will be devoted to this action.

Action 2: “Active civil society in Europe”

Approximately 31 % of the total budget allocated to the programme will be devoted to this action, which comprises:

  • structural support for European public policy research organisations (think-tanks);
  • structural support for civil society organisations at European level;
  • support for projects initiated by civil society organisations at local, regional and national levels.

Action 3: “Together for Europe”

Approximately 10 % of the total budget allocated to the programme will be devoted to this action, which supports:

  • high-profile events, such as commemorations of historical events, artistic events, awards to highlight major accomplishments and Europe-wide conferences;
  • studies, surveys and opinion polls;
  • information and dissemination tools.

Action 4: “Active European Remembrance”

Approximately 4 % of the total budget allocated to the programme will be devoted to this action, which comprises projects to preserve active European remembrance. These are mainly projects designed to preserve the main sites and archives associated with the mass deportations and former concentration camps and to commemorate the victims of mass exterminations and mass deportations that took place during the Nazi and Stalinist regimes.

Participation

The programme is open to the participation of the following countries, in accordance with the general terms and conditions for their participation in Community programmes:

  • Member States;
  • EFTA States that are party to the EEA Agreement;
  • candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy;
  • countries of the western Balkans.

The programme applies to the following:

  • local authorities and organisations;
  • European public policy research organisations (think-tanks);
  • citizens’ groups and other civil society organisations, such as non-governmental organisations, platforms, networks, associations, federations, trade unions, educational institutions and organisations active in the field of voluntary work or amateur sport.

Management, budget and evaluation

The Commission is assisted by a committee and must adopt most of the implementation measures in accordance with the management procedure. This includes selection decisions related to operating grants, multi-annual twinning agreements and high-profile events. With regard to other selection decisions, the Commission has the obligation to inform the committee and the European Parliament of the decisions adopted. The proposed budget for the implementation of this programme is EUR 215 million. Approximately 10 % of the total allocated budget covers administrative expenditure.

The Commission shall submit an interim evaluation report on the implementation of the programme no later than 31 December 2010. A communication on the continuation of the programme shall be presented no later than 31 December 2011. The ex-post evaluation report shall be submitted no later than 31 December 2015.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1904/2006/EC

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 378 of 27.12.2006

Amending act(s) Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision No 1358/2008/EC

31.12.2008 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 350 of 30.12.2008

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 9 March 2004 – Making citizenship Work: fostering European culture and diversity through programmes for Youth, Culture, Audiovisual and Civic Participation [COM(2004) 154 final – Official Journal C 122 of 30.4.2004].

Active European citizenship

Active European citizenship

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Active European citizenship

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Active European citizenship (2004-2006)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2004/100/EC of 26 January 2004 establishing a Community action programme to promote active European citizenship (civic participation).

Summary

The European Union is keen to see its citizens to play an active part in the implementation of Community policies. In line with the principle of subsidiarity, European citizenship – as established by the EC Treaty – complements national citizenship and does not replace it.

Back in 1999 the Tampere European Council stressed that an area of freedom, security and justice should be based on the principles of transparency and democratic control, involving an open dialogue with civil society.

In its Declaration No 23, the Nice European Council recognised the need to improve and monitor the democratic legitimacy and transparency of the Union institutions, in order to bring them closer to the citizens of the Member States.

For a number of years the European Union has supported active European citizenship through budget lines in Part A (administrative appropriations) of the Commission budget. At present there is no legal base for awarding grants in this field, a gap that this programme sets out to fill.

The aim of the Community programme set out in this Decision is to contribute to the operating costs of organisations working in the field of active European citizenship and to promote measures which help achieve the Union’s objectives in that field.

The programme covers the following bodies in particular:

  • “Our Europe” Association;
  • Jean Monnet house;
  • Robert Schuman house;
  • Platform of European social NGOs;
  • European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE);
  • Association of the Councils of State and Supreme Administrative Jurisdictions of the European Union.

It also supports the ongoing work programme of a series of bodies pursuing aims of general European interest related to active European citizenship, and action in that field by NGOs, associations and federations of European interest or cross-industry trade-unions.

The chief activities to be financed are meetings and debates between citizens on themes of European interest, discussion and education projects and the dissemination of information on Community action.

To award grants under this programme the Commission will publish calls for proposals. An exception to this rule will be made for 2004 and 2005 (see the list in the Annex).

For the purposes of monitoring and evaluating the programme, the Commission will present an activity report to Parliament and the Council by 31 December 2007, based among other things on an external report – to be made available no later than 31 December 2006 – appraising the coherence of the programme and the effectiveness of its execution.

Promoting Active European Citizenship (2007-13)

The ‘ Citizens for Europe ‘ programme aims to promote active European citizenship.

References

Act Entry into force – Date of expiry Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2004/100/EC [adoption: consultation CNS/2003/0116] 5.2.2004 OJ L 30 of 4.2.2004

Charter of Fundamental Rights

Charter of Fundamental Rights

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Charter of Fundamental Rights

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Anti-discrimination and relations with civil society

Charter of Fundamental Rights

In June 1999, the Cologne European Council concluded that the fundamental rights applicable at European Union (EU) level should be consolidated in a charter to give them greater visibility. The heads of state/government aspired to include in the charter the general principles set out in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and those derived from the constitutional traditions common to EU countries. In addition, the charter was to include the fundamental rights that apply to EU citizens as well as the economic and social rights contained in the Council of Europe Social Charter and the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers. It would also reflect the principles derived from the case law of the Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

The charter was drawn up by a convention consisting of a representative from each EU country and the European Commission, as well as members of the European Parliament and national parliaments. It was formally proclaimed in Nice in December 2000 by the European Parliament, Council and Commission.

In December 2009, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the charter was given binding legal effect equal to the Treaties. To this end, the charter was amended and proclaimed a second time in December 2007.

Content

The charter brings together in a single document rights previously found in a variety of legislative instruments, such as in national and EU laws, as well as in international conventions from the Council of Europe, the United Nations (UN) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). By making fundamental rights clearer and more visible, it creates legal certainty within the EU.

The Charter of Fundamental Rightscontains a preamble and 54 Articles, grouped in seven chapters:

  • chapter I: dignity (human dignity, the right to life, the right to the integrity of the person, prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibition of slavery and forced labour);
  • chapter II: freedoms (the right to liberty and security, respect for private and family life, protection of personal data, the right to marry and found a family, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of the arts and sciences, the right to education, freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work, freedom to conduct a business, the right to property, the right to asylum, protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition);
  • chapter III: equality (equality before the law, non-discrimination, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, equality between men and women, the rights of the child, the rights of the elderly, integration of persons with disabilities);
  • chapter IV: solidarity (workers’ right to information and consultation within the undertaking, the right of collective bargaining and action, the right of access to placement services, protection in the event of unjustified dismissal, fair and just working conditions, prohibition of child labour and protection of young people at work, family and professional life, social security and social assistance, health care, access to services of general economic interest, environmental protection, consumer protection);
  • chapter V: citizens’ rights (the right to vote and stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament and at municipal elections, the right to good administration, the right of access to documents, European Ombudsman, the right to petition, freedom of movement and residence, diplomatic and consular protection);
  • chapter VI: justice (the right to an effective remedy and a fair trial, presumption of innocence and the right of defence, principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties, the right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence);
  • chapter VII: general provisions.

Scope

The charter applies to the European institutions, subject to the principle of subsidiarity, and may under no circumstances extend the powers and tasks conferred on them by the Treaties. The charter also applies to EU countries when they implement EU law.

If any of the rights correspond to rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, the meaning and scope of those rights is to be the same as defined by the convention, though EU law may provide for more extensive protection. Any of the rights derived from the common constitutional traditions of EU countries must be interpreted in accordance to those traditions.

Protocol (No) 30 to the Treaties on the application of the charter to Poland and the United Kingdom restricts the interpretation of the charter by the Court of Justice and the national courts of these two countries, in particular regarding rights relating to solidarity (chapter IV).


Another Normative about Charter of Fundamental Rights

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Charter of Fundamental Rights

In June 1999, the Cologne European Council concluded that the fundamental rights applicable at European Union (EU) level should be consolidated in a charter to give them greater visibility. The heads of state/government aspired to include in the charter the general principles set out in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights and those derived from the constitutional traditions common to EU countries. In addition, the charter was to include the fundamental rights that apply to EU citizens as well as the economic and social rights contained in the Council of Europe Social Charter and the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of Workers. It would also reflect the principles derived from the case law of the Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

The charter was drawn up by a convention consisting of a representative from each EU country and the European Commission, as well as members of the European Parliament and national parliaments. It was formally proclaimed in Nice in December 2000 by the European Parliament, Council and Commission.

In December 2009, with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the charter was given binding legal effect equal to the Treaties. To this end, the charter was amended and proclaimed a second time in December 2007.

Content

The charter brings together in a single document rights previously found in a variety of legislative instruments, such as in national and EU laws, as well as in international conventions from the Council of Europe, the United Nations (UN) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). By making fundamental rights clearer and more visible, it creates legal certainty within the EU.

The Charter of Fundamental Rightscontains a preamble and 54 Articles, grouped in seven chapters:

  • chapter I: dignity (human dignity, the right to life, the right to the integrity of the person, prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prohibition of slavery and forced labour);
  • chapter II: freedoms (the right to liberty and security, respect for private and family life, protection of personal data, the right to marry and found a family, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of expression and information, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of the arts and sciences, the right to education, freedom to choose an occupation and the right to engage in work, freedom to conduct a business, the right to property, the right to asylum, protection in the event of removal, expulsion or extradition);
  • chapter III: equality (equality before the law, non-discrimination, cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, equality between men and women, the rights of the child, the rights of the elderly, integration of persons with disabilities);
  • chapter IV: solidarity (workers’ right to information and consultation within the undertaking, the right of collective bargaining and action, the right of access to placement services, protection in the event of unjustified dismissal, fair and just working conditions, prohibition of child labour and protection of young people at work, family and professional life, social security and social assistance, health care, access to services of general economic interest, environmental protection, consumer protection);
  • chapter V: citizens’ rights (the right to vote and stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament and at municipal elections, the right to good administration, the right of access to documents, European Ombudsman, the right to petition, freedom of movement and residence, diplomatic and consular protection);
  • chapter VI: justice (the right to an effective remedy and a fair trial, presumption of innocence and the right of defence, principles of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and penalties, the right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence);
  • chapter VII: general provisions.

Scope

The charter applies to the European institutions, subject to the principle of subsidiarity, and may under no circumstances extend the powers and tasks conferred on them by the Treaties. The charter also applies to EU countries when they implement EU law.

If any of the rights correspond to rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, the meaning and scope of those rights is to be the same as defined by the convention, though EU law may provide for more extensive protection. Any of the rights derived from the common constitutional traditions of EU countries must be interpreted in accordance to those traditions.

Protocol (No) 30 to the Treaties on the application of the charter to Poland and the United Kingdom restricts the interpretation of the charter by the Court of Justice and the national courts of these two countries, in particular regarding rights relating to solidarity (chapter IV).

Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

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Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament

Document or Iniciative

Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (EP).

Summary

The Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (EP) establish the internal organisation and functioning of the institution. Article 232 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU gives Parliament the power to adopt its own Rules of Procedure.

COMPOSITION OF PARLIAMENT

Members

The Members of the EP exercise their mandate independently, subject to the rules concerning incompatibility laid down in the Act of 20th September 1976 (amended by Decision 2002/772/EC). They enjoy privileges and immunities in accordance with the Protocol 7 on the privileges and immunities of the EU.

The President, the 14 Vice-Presidents and the 5 Quaestors are elected by their peers by secret ballot. Their nominations must have the support of a political group or at least 40 Members. Their term of office is two and a half years.

The President:

  • directs all the activities of and represents Parliament;
  • opens, suspends and closes sittings;
  • directs parliamentary debates;
  • rules on the admissibility of amendments in plenary session, on questions to the Council and Commission, and on the conformity of Parliament’s reports with its Rules of Procedure;
  • refers to committees any communications that concern them.

The Vice-Presidents may replace the President as provided for in the Rules of Procedure, for example if the President wishes to take part in a debate. The Quaestors are also responsible for administrative and financial matters.

Governing bodies

Parliament has several governing bodies, the most important of which are:

  • the Bureau: consisting of the President, the 14 Vice-Presidents and the Quaestors (who serve in an advisory capacity), it takes financial, organisational and administrative decisions on matters concerning Parliament;
  • the Conference of Presidents: it consists of the President, the chairmen of the political groups and a non-attached Member who participates in the Conference without a right to vote. The Conference takes decisions on the organisation of Parliament’s work and matters relating to legislative planning, draws up the agendas for Parliament’s part-sessions, determines the composition and areas of competence of committees, and authorises the drawing up of own-initiative reports. It is also responsible for relations with the other institutions and bodies of the European Union as well as with certain non-member countries and non-Union institutions and organisations.

There are also two other Conferences, the Conference of Committee Chairmen and the Conference of Delegation Chairmen. Both may make recommendations to the Conference of Presidents.

Groups and political parties

The political groups are formed on the basis of political affinities and consist of a minimum of 25 Members elected in at least one quarter of the Member States. The political groups and Members who have not joined a group are provided with a secretariat, administrative facilities and the appropriations entered for the purpose in Parliament’s budget.

The Statute of the European political parties was approved in 2004. Parliament’s Rules of Procedure merely set out the powers and responsibilities of its governing bodies in relation to them. The President represents Parliament in its relations with these parties and the Bureau decides on requests for financing.

ORGANISATION

Parliamentary committees

The organisation and operation of Parliament is the responsibility of the parliamentary committees. There are three types of parliamentary committee:

  • standing committees: These committees are at the heart of Parliament’s legislative work (Annex VII to the Rules of Procedure). The standing committees examine the matters referred to them according to their powers and responsibilities. Should it fall within more than one area, the matter may be referred to a maximum of three committees;
  • special committees: Their powers, composition and term of office are defined when they are set up. Their mandate cannot exceed twelve months;
  • committees of inquiry: These are ad hoc committees set up by Parliament at the request of one quarter of its Members to investigate contraventions or maladministration in the implementation of European law.

The standing and special committees are set up on a proposal of the Conference of Presidents. Their permanent and substitute members are elected after nominations have been submitted by the political groups and the non-attached Members. The composition of these committees should correspond as far as possible to that of Parliament as a whole.

Interparliamentary delegations

There are also standing interparliamentary delegations, set up on a proposal from the Conference of Presidents, which decides on their nature and the number of their members. Parliament can also set up joint parliamentary committees with the parliaments of States associated with the Union or States with which accession negotiations have been initiated..

Sessions of Parliament

Each year of the term corresponds to one session divided into 12 part-sessions (monthly plenaries). The monthly part-session is subdivided into daily sittings.

Parliament’s seat is in Strasbourg, where it holds 12 monthly part-sessions. Additional part-sessions and committee meetings are held in Brussels.

Members have the right to speak in the official language of their choice. Leave to speak and speaking time are carefully regulated.

A draft agenda is drawn up by the Conference of Presidents. The final agenda is then adopted at the start of each session. Moreover, the points listed in the agenda may be the subject of a debate, proposals for amendments or the subject of a single vote without debate.

LEGISLATIVE, BUDGETARY AND OTHER PROCEDURES

Parliament cooperates with the Commission and the Council in drawing up the European Union’s legislative programme (see Annex XIV). Once the Commission has submitted a proposal, the legislative procedure in Parliament starts with an in-depth examination of respect for fundamental rights, the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, and an estimate of the financial resources needed.

In the case of legislative reports, the President of Parliament sends the Commission proposals, consultations, requests by the Council or from the Commission for an opinion, and the Council common positions to the parliamentary committee, which first examines the legal basis. The committee then appoints a rapporteur whose report will comprise draft amendments, if any, a draft legislative resolution and, if appropriate, an explanatory statement. The committee chairman may also propose that the proposal be approved without amendment following a first discussion, unless at least one tenth of the committee members object.

A rapporteur is also appointed in the case of non-legislative reports, such as own-initiative reports or opinions. He must present a report comprising a motion for a resolution, an explanatory statement including a financial statement, and the texts of any motions for resolutions to be tabled in plenary.

Own-initiative reports, sent to the Commission so that it can present a proposal for legislation, must first be authorised by the Conference of Presidents. The Conference has two months to take a decision. If authorisation is withheld, the reason must be stated.

Legislative procedures

All legislative proposals from the Commission are sent to the competent parliamentary committee which draws up a report. On the basis of this report, the Parliament may adopt the text, propose amendments or reject the proposal.

In the ordinary legislative procedure, the Parliament is co-legislator with the Council of the EU. The two institutions adopt legislative acts either at first reading or at second reading. If, at the end of the second reading, the two institutions have still not reached agreement, a conciliation committee is convened.

Furthermore, there are special legislative procedures within which the Council of the EU is the sole legislator and the Parliament is only associated with the procedure. The role of the Parliament is therefore limited to consultation on, and approval of, the legislative proposal.

Quorum and voting

A quorum exists when one third of the Members are present in the Chamber. Voting is usually by show of hands, but voting by roll call, electronic voting and voting by secret ballot are also possible in some circumstances.

Other procedures

Particularly sensitive areas, such as the budget and foreign relations, are subject to a separate procedure.

Parliament plays a key role with respect to the EU Budget; it is involved in adopting the budget, controls its implementation and grants discharge to the Commission in respect of such implementation.

The EP also plays an important role in concluding international agreements. In particular, it can formulate recommendations and deliver its opinion or approval on the signing of all international agreements.

RELATIONS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND WITH CITIZENS

Relations with the other European institutions and bodies

Parliament elects the President of the Commission and the College of Commissioners. Once they have been appointed, the Commissioners are asked to present their policy approaches in plenary and to the committees responsible. Parliament may also submit and vote on a motion of censure leading to the resignation of the Commission. A framework agreement on relations with the Commission can be found in Annex XIII.

Parliament also gives its opinion on the appointment of Members of the Court of Auditors and Members of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank.

Parliament may also consult the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions on matters of a general nature or on specific points. It also has the right to submit requests to European agencies and to make referrals to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

In order to improve or clarify procedures, Parliament may enter into interinstitutional agreements with the other institutions. Parliament has other means of interacting with the institutions. It may for example put questions to the Council or the Commission, which will answer orally during the debate or in writing if so requested by Parliament. It may also submit written questions to the European Central Bank.

Relations with national parliaments

Parliament briefs the national parliaments regularly on its activities. A delegation from the EP meets the national delegations in the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for European Affairs.

Relations with citizens

All citizens or residents of the European Union have the right of access to parliamentary documents, within the limits defined. Committee and plenary debates are public and reports on plenary debates are published in the Official Journal, thereby guaranteeing the transparency of and the public’s right to information on Parliament’s proceedings.

All citizens or residents of the European Union also have the right to address petitions to Parliament on matters coming within the European Union’s fields of activity and directly affecting them. Petitions are examined by the committee responsible, which may decide to draw up a report or otherwise express an opinion.

European citizens may also address complaints concerning the activities of the European institutions and bodies to the European Ombudsman.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

The European Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The European Ombudsman

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

The European Ombudsman

Document or Iniciative

European Parliament Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom of 9 March 1994 on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties [See amending acts].

Summary

This European Parliament Decision establishes the position of the European Ombudsman and the conditions under which he works.

Combating maladministration

The main role of the European Ombudsman is to investigate cases of maladministration by Community bodies and institutions. To this end, these bodies and institutions must provide the Ombudsman with all the information he requires and indicate if any of this information is classified. If so, access to the information is regulated by the security rules of the body or institution in question, as provided by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. Member States may also be required to provide information to the Ombudsman. However, if this information is covered by laws on secrecy, the Ombudsman must not divulge it further. If the requested assistance is not provided, the Ombudsman informs the European Parliament, which then takes the necessary steps.

The Ombudsman may act either on his own initiative or following a complaint. The complainant may refer a matter to the Ombudsman via a Member of the European Parliament, but this is not obligatory.

The Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance, in the exercise of their judicial function, are excluded from the scope of the Ombudsman’s powers. The Ombudsman is not empowered to investigate cases of maladministration by national, regional or local governments in the Member States. Neither can he intervene in a case already brought before a court, nor question the validity of a court decision.

Taking a complaint to the European Ombudsman

Persons wishing to submit a complaint to the European Ombudsman must meet certain eligibility conditions:

  • The complainant: any European citizen, or other natural or legal person residing or having a registered office in one of the Member States of the Union, may submit a complaint. The complainant does not have to be affected directly by the case of maladministration.
  • The subject of the complaint: the complaint must relate solely to a case of maladministration on the part of a Community body or institution. “Maladministration” means, for example, an abuse of power, administrative irregularities, discrimination, etc.
  • The deadline: a complaint regarding a case of maladministration must be lodged within two years of the date on which the facts were brought to the citizen’s attention. It should be noted that the submission of a complaint to the Ombudsman does not affect the deadlines set in any other legal or administrative procedures.
  • The last resort principle: before submitting a complaint, the complainant must take the relevant administrative steps with the institution(s) concerned.

After the initial investigations, if the Ombudsman finds that a complaint is eligible, he informs the institution concerned and asks it to submit a detailed opinion within three months. Following this, the Ombudsman will send a report, with possible recommendations, to both the European Parliament and the institution concerned. The complainant will then be given the results of the Ombudsman’s inquiries, and possible recommendations, as well as the opinion of the institution concerned. The complainant has one month to submit any comments.

If the Ombudsman finds evidence of any criminal wrongdoing, he must immediately inform the national authorities, the Community institution responsible for fighting fraud, or the Community institution for which the official or agent in question works.

The Ombudsman may cooperate, under certain circumstances, with similar national authorities in order to enhance its investigations and to better protect the rights of the complainants. Likewise, the Ombudsman may also cooperate with national institutions responsible for protecting and promoting fundamental rights.

Appointment of the Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman is elected by the European Parliament for the Parliament’s term of office (five years), with the possibility of reappointment. He is chosen among those citizens of the Union who are in full possession of their civil and political rights and who are not subject to any conflict of interest. The person chosen must be capable of exercising a senior legal function or have a demonstrated ability to accomplish the tasks of the Ombudsman.

10 The Ombudsman acts independently and accepts no instructions from any government or other organisation. During the term of his mandate, he may not exercise any other political or administrative function or occupation, paid or unpaid. He is assisted by a secretariat.

An Ombudsman who no longer meets these conditions or who has committed a grave error may be dismissed by the Court of Justice of the European Communities, at the request of the European Parliament.

Origins

The position of Ombudsman was established by the Treaty on European Union (TEU, 1992).

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom 4.5.1994 OJ L 113 of 4.5.1994
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2002/262/EC, ECSC, Euratom 9.4.2002
Applicable with effect: 1.1.2000
OJ L 92 of 9.4.2002
Decision 2008/587/EC, Euratom 31.7.2008 OJ L 189 of 17.7.2008

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.