Try having your professional qualification recognized – or your car registered – in another EU country: despite the many regulations and rights within the EU, citizens sometimes come up against unexpected bureaucratic obstacles. The European Year of Citizens 2013 is devoted to helping them get a better idea of their own rights and to contribute their ideas for the future of the EU.
“We need the citizens to get directly involved if we are to build a stronger and more political union,” said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, at the launch of the European Year of Citizens in January 2013. José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, emphasized that there were many things in the EU that could and should be improved: “The Year of Citizens opens up new opportunities for people to help shape the future of the European Union.” EU citizenship, introduced in 1993, has already made significant legislative progress: all citizens of the EU are free to choose where they live and work within the EU, to set up a business, be a candidate and vote at European and local elections in any EU country, and submit petitions to the European Parliament.
The European Commission believes 2013 will be an important year for European integration. One year before the next European elections, the citizens of Germany and the other EU Member States will have a chance to express their ideas on the future of the EU in discussion forums to be held at many events. In a recent EU survey on this subject it emerged that most EU citizens wanted a Europe in which they could live, work, move house, study and shop without having to fear bureaucratic barriers or discrimination. The right to freedom of movement and the political rights to petition, complain and form citizens’ initiatives were especially important to people.