EU Citizens' Rights
EU Citizens' Rights
Any person who holds the nationality of an EU country is also an EU citizen.
European Union citizens have the right to free movement, settlement and employment across the EU. EU citizens are free to trade and transport goods, services and capital through EU borders, as in a national market, with no restrictions on capital movements or fees. EU citizenship also gives every EU citizen a right to vote or stand as a candidate in elections to the European Parliament and in municipal elections, and a right to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of any EU country outside the EU. We can also currently petition the European Parliament. Read more about the loss of voting rights in France here and about voting in UK elections here.
Free movement of people is one of the 'four freedoms' guaranteed by membership of the EU. The other three are freedom of goods, freedom of capital and freedom of services.
All EU citizens and their family members have the right to move and reside freely within the EU. This is set forth in Article 21 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.
Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
The rules on free movement as established in Directive 2004/38 stipulate that
EU citizens can live in another EU country for up to three months without any requirements other than holding a valid identity card or passport
In order to stay in another EU country for more than three months, EU citizens have to meet certain conditions depending on their status (e.g. worker, student, etc.) and they may also be asked to comply with administrative formalities
EU citizens have the right to permanent residence in another EU country after legally residing there continuously for five years. They may be temporarily absent (e.g. for illness, study or posting)
Family members of EU citizens have the right to accompany or join them in another EU country. They may be asked to comply with certain conditions or formalities
Click here for the EU directive for free movement
All EU citizens have the right of free movement, only those who have actually used the right have been exercising it. Some also call this exercising treaty rights.
Am I exercising free movement rights?
If you are planning to move to France or another EU country before the end of the Transition Period (TP), you will need to ensure you do so in accordance with the criteria of Freedom of Movement. Albeit we are no longer EU citizens, during the TP it is still possible to move to the EU27 countries
You need to move to another EU country and intend to make your life there. A brief visit does not count. Unfortunately, if you own a home in an EU country but have not moved there intending to stay before the end of the TP (currently 31 December 2020) then your rights may not be protected. If you move to your home after any cut-off date then you may be treated as a non-EU citizen.
The Withdrawal Agreement, which came into force at midnight CET on 31 January 2020, excludes continued free movement and we will only be protected in France after the end of the TP. It means we cannot move to another EU country in future, even if it's just a short drive away and that's where we get our groceries!
We will not be able to live, work or to provide cross-border services outside of France. We would also lose the right to have our qualifications recognised across the EU27. Some may be able to use frontier worker status.
We will be landlocked but watching our EU neighbours sailing by!
Non-EU nationals who have been resident in their host state for 5 years or more and hold a Long Term Residence Permit have a few mobility rights; this is not freedom of movement as we enjoy today. The card for Long Term Residence is like a Permanent Residence card for EU citizens but limited. You would have some mobility rights but limited. Those with less than 5 years residence in France have no mobility rights at all.
For legal residence we need to refer to the legislation on this which can be found here.
Right of residence
Right of residence for up to three months
1. Union citizens shall have the right of residence on the territory of another Member State for a period of up to three months without any conditions or any formalities other than the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport.
2. The provisions of paragraph 1 shall also apply to family members in possession of a valid passport who are not nationals of a Member State, accompanying or joining the Union citizen.
Right of residence for more than three months
1. All Union citizens shall have the right of residence on the territory of another Member State for a period of longer than three months if they:
(a) are workers or self-employed persons in the host Member State; or
(b) have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State during their period of residence and have comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the host Member State; or
(c) are enrolled at a private or public establishment, accredited or financed by the host Member State on the basis of its legislation or administrative practice, for the principal purpose of following a course of study, including vocational training; and have comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the host Member State and assure the relevant national authority, by means of a declaration or by such equivalent means as they may choose, that they have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State during their period of residence; or
(d) are family members accompanying or joining a Union citizen who satisfies the conditions referred to in points (a), (b) or (c).
2. The right of residence provided for in paragraph 1 shall extend to family members who are not nationals of a Member State, accompanying or joining the Union citizen in the host Member State, provided that such Union citizen satisfies the conditions referred to in paragraph l(a), (b) or (c).
3. For the purposes of paragraph 1(a), a Union citizen who is no longer a worker or self-employed person shall retain the status of worker or self-employed person in the following circumstances:
(a) he/she is temporarily unable to work as the result of an illness or accident;
(b) he/she is in duly recorded involuntary unemployment after having been employed for more than one year and has registered as a job-seeker with the relevant employment office;
(c) he/she is in duly recorded involuntary unemployment after completing a fixed-term employment contract of less than a year or after having become involuntarily unemployed during the first twelve months and has registered as a job-seeker with the relevant employment office. In this case, the status of worker shall be retained for no less than six months;
(d) he/she embarks on vocational training. Unless he/she is involuntarily unemployed, the retention of the status of worker shall require the training to be related to the previous employment.