Module 3: European Union

Lesson Title

What does it mean to be a European Citizen?
o Travelling
o Living and Working in Europe
o A sense of Belonging



This session covers what it means to be an EU citizen, how you can travel and work and what it means have a sense of belonging.


Lesson time foreseen

80 minutes = 2 lessons


Lesson Content

What it means to be an EU citizen?

Citizenship of the European Union is enshrined in the EU Treaty: ‘Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. Citizenship of the Union shall be additional to and not replace national citizenship’ (Article 20(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union). But what does EU citizenship mean in practice?
If you are an EU citizen you have the right to travel, work and live anywhere in the European Union.
If you have completed a university course lasting 3 years or more, your qualification will be recognized in all EU countries, since EU Member States have confidence in the quality of one another’s education and training systems.
You can work in the health, education and other public services (except for the police, armed forces, etc.) of any country in the European Union. Indeed, what could be more natural than recruiting a German teacher to teach German in Rome, or encouraging a young Belgian graduate to compete in a civil service exam in France?
Before travelling within the EU, you can obtain from your national authorities a European health insurance card, to help cover your medical costs if you fall ill while in another country.
Traveling in Schengen
EU and Schengen area make travelling much easier.
EU nationals
If you are an EU national, you do not need to show your national ID card or passport when you are travelling from one border-free Schengen EU country to another.
Even if you don't need a passport for border checks within the Schengen area, it is still always highly recommended to take a passport or ID card with you, so you can prove your identity if needed (if stopped by police, boarding a plane, etc.). Schengen EU countries have the possibility of adopting national rules obliging you to hold or carry papers and documents when you are present on their territory.
Driving licences, post, bank or tax cards are not accepted as valid travel documents or proof of identity.
Non-EU family members
If you are an EU national but you have family members who are not, they can accompany or join you in another EU country.
Your non-EU family members must carry a valid passport at all times and, depending on the country they are from, may also have to show an entry visa at the border.
Your non-EU spouse, (grand)children or (grand)parents do not need to get a visa from the country they are travelling to if:
• They have a residence permit or visa from another country in the border-free Schengen area (see list below) and the country they are travelling to belongs to that area.
• They have an EU family member's residence card issued under EU rules by any EU country (except the country you are a national of), and they are travelling together with you or travelling to join you in another EU country. The residence card should clearly state that the holder is a family member of an EU national.

Your registered partner and extended family - siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and so on - can ask the authorities in an EU country to officially recognise them as family members of an EU national. EU countries do not have to recognise them as your family members but they do at least have to consider the request.
Applying for a visa
If your non-EU family members need an entry visa, they should apply for one in advance from the consulate or embassy of the country they wish to travel to. If they will be travelling together with you, or joining you in another EU country, their application should be processed quickly and free of charge:
• Countries which are members of the border-free Schengen area should issue visas within 15 days, except in rare cases, when the authorities should provide an explanation of their decision.
• All other countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, UK) should issues visas as quickly as possible.
The documents your family members need to include in their visa application may vary from country to country. Before travelling, check which these are with the consulate or embassy of the destination country.
Visas issued by a country belonging to the border-free Schengen area are valid for all countries in that area.

Arriving at the border without an entry visa
It is always best for your non-EU family members to be well informed in advance and have all the necessary documents before starting their journey.
However, if they arrive at the border without an entry visa, the border authorities should give them the opportunity to prove by other means that they are your family members. If they manage to prove it, they should be issued with an entry visa on the spot.

Non-EU nationals

Passport/Visa requirements
If you are a non-EU national wishing to visit or travel within the EU, you will need a passport:
• valid for at least 3 months after the date you intend to leave the EU country you are visiting,
• which was issued within the previous 10 years,
and possibly a visa. Apply for a visa from the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting. If your visa is from a "Schengen area" country, it automatically allows you to travel to the other Schengen countries as well. If you have a valid residence permit from one of those Schengen countries, it is equivalent to a visa. You may need a national visa to visit non-Schengen countries.
Border officials in EU countries may ask for other supporting documents such as an invitation letter, proof of lodging, return or round-trip ticket. For the precise requirements contact the local consular services of the EU country in question.
There are a number of countries whose nationals do not need a visa to visit the EU for three months or less. The list of countries whose nationals require visas to travel to the United Kingdom or Ireland differs slightly from other EU countries.
Traveling in/out of Schengen
When travelling to or from a non-Schengen country you must show a valid ID or passport. Before travelling, check what documents you must have to travel outside your home country and to enter the non-Schengen country you plan to visit.
Driving license
• If your licence was issued in an EU country, you can use it anywhere in the EU.
• Before you travel abroad, make sure your driving licence is still valid. If your driving licence expires during a trip abroad, it automatically becomes invalid and may not be recognised in other countries.
• Be aware that you cannot drive in another country on a provisional driving licence or certificate.
• If you have exchanged your non‑EU licence for an EU licence in the country where you now live, you can drive with it throughout the EU.
• If you want to drive in the EU on a licence issued in a country outside the EU, contact the authorities of the country you are visiting, or your embassy or consulate in that country.

The sense of belonging
The idea of a ‘citizens’ Europe’ is very new. Some symbols of a shared European identity already exist, such as the European passport, in use since 1985. The EU has a motto, ‘United in diversity’, and 9 May is celebrated as ‘Europe Day’.
The European anthem (from Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’) and the European flag (a circle of 12 gold stars on a blue background) were adopted in 1985 as the most important EU symbols. Member States, local authorities and individual citizens may use them if they wish.
However, people cannot feel they ‘belong’ to the European Union unless they are aware of what the EU is doing and understand why. The EU institutions and Member States may need to do much more to relate to citizens, who often feel that the EU is distant and not easily accessible.
People also need to see the EU making a tangible difference to their lives. In this respect, the daily use of euro notes and coins since 2002 has had a major impact. Pricing goods and services in euro means that consumers can compare prices directly from one country to another.
Border checks have been abolished between most EU countries under the Schengen Agreement, and this gives people a sense of belonging to a single, unified geographical area.
A sense of belonging comes, above all, from feeling personally involved in EU decision-making. Every adult EU citizen has the right to stand and vote in European Parliament elections, and this is an important basis for the EU’s democratic legitimacy. The indirect election of the President of the European Commission during the European elections in May 2014, where the political parties fought the election campaign with their own candidates for the post, was a step that will probably reduce over time what is sometimes called the ‘democratic deficit’. At the same time, the increase in votes for populists and Eurosceptic parties was a warning to the EU institutions.
The European Union was set up to serve the people of Europe, and its future must be shaped by the active involvement of people from all walks of life. The EU’s founding fathers were well aware of this. ‘We are not bringing together states, we are uniting people’, said Jean Monnet back in 1952. Raising public awareness about the EU and involving citizens in its activities is still one of the greatest challenges facing not only the EU institutions, but also national authorities and civil society.
Free movement of labor force for EU nationals
Free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the Treaty enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and developed by EU secondary legislation and the Case law of the Court of Justice. EU citizens are entitled to:
• look for a job in another EU country  
• work there without needing a work permit
• reside there for that purpose
• stay there even after employment has finished
• enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages
EU nationals may also have certain types of health & social security coverage transferred to the country in which they go to seek work (see coordination of social security systems).
Free movement of workers also applies, in general terms, to the countries in the European Economic Area: Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
People working in some occupations may also be able to have their professional qualifications recognized abroad (see mutual recognition of professional qualifications).
EU social security coordination provides rules to protect the rights of people moving within the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Who can benefit from this freedom?
• Jobseekers, i.e. EU nationals who move to another EU country to look for a job, under certain conditions
• EU nationals working in another EU country
• EU nationals who return to their country of origin after having worked abroad.
• Family members of the above.
Rights may differ somewhat for people who plan to be self-employed, students, and retired or otherwise economically non-active people.
Non-EU nationals
The freedom to move to another EU country to work without a work permit is a right for EU nationals.
Non-EU nationals may have the right to work in an EU country or to be treated equally with EU nationals as regards conditions of work. These rights depend on their status as family members of EU nationals and on their own nationality.
Other countries that have an agreement with the EU
Nationals of these countries, who are working legally in the European Union, are entitled to the same working conditions as the nationals of their host country:
• Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia
• Russia
• Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro;
• Andorra, San Marino
• 79 countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
Countries with no agreement
For nationals of other countries – that have no agreement with the EU – the right to work in an EU country mainly depends on the laws of that country, unless they are members of an EU national's family.
However, EU rules do cover the following areas for workers from all non‑EU countries:
• non-EU nationals who are long-term residents in the EU
• the right to family reunification
• admission for non-EU researchers
• admission for students, exchange pupils, unpaid training or voluntary service
• the rights of highly-skilled workers from outside the EU (EU blue card scheme).

New EU rules have been proposed on:
• simplified entry procedures and rights for all non-EU migrant workers
• conditions of entry and residence of seasonal workers from non-EU countries
• conditions of entry and residence of non-EU nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer.


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