Thursday 22 April 2010

Reflections on the EU citizenship consultations

Until 14 June 2010, the European Commission is holding a "Consultation on how to strengthen the rights stemming from Union Citizenship".

But what do they want from us? Can't they see on their own that there are so many obstacles of moving around freely that they just need to start doing something? Just read the comments to a recent euroblog post and you already know where to start.

Instead of spending their time trying to find solutions, they present us a bureaucratic questionnaire that is already so introduced so boringly that I as a citizen want to stop reading after the first lines.

What if I fill in the 9 questions and send them to "Unit D2 of the Directorate General for Justice, Freedom and Security"?

Will they go to my local administration to explain that it is ridiculous that I need an expensive official translation of an English letter of reference in order to acknowledge that I have been working in another European country? Will they go to my health insurance and tell them I get the same medical protection in every EU country? Will they make my pensions or my unemployment insurance transferable wherever I live? Will they talk to the UK bank telling them that they can't refuse to give me a bank account just because I'm not a British citizen? Will they allow me to just go wherever I want in the Union, tell the local authority that I'm there and then let me live and work there like anybody else?

I don't think so. The Commission will write another report that no citizen will ever read and then start another decision-making process that no citizen will follow and then come to the conclusion that the best thing they can do for us citizens is to regulate how much we pay for mobile roaming (instead of promoting true European mobile phone contracts).

So many problems are known, and what these consultations will do is just bring them up again, but they won't be given by those concerned but by some European organisations who earn their money pretending to speak in our name.

And something about the coherence of the consultations:

What do the questions about obstacles to free movement have to do with voters' participation in the European Parliament elections? Not much. Participation in the European Parliament elections is so low because European and national parties give a shit, because they run campaigns that pretend it's about national topics while it's actually about European issues. But that is is not the problem of the Commission, that is the task of the politicians who sit in the European Parliament or of their parties back home and in Brussels.

Why can't the Commission at least focus on a proper consultation that focuses on obstacles to free movement or political participation or consular protection instead of mixing up totally different subjects? And why do they already give possible answers after each consultation question? If they think they know what we should answer, why don't they just take their own answers and do something?

Sorry, but for me the main task is easy: I am a European Union citizen and I want to move around freely in the Union without state bureaucracies, big corporations and other social institutions putting all kinds of smaller or larger stones in my way. Now figure out what needs to be done.

Picture: © loungerie / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Ralf Grahn said...

For the gap between words and deeds, the EU needs to go no further than to its own staff.

National rules and practices make a mockery out of EU citizens' rights to freely move and reside:

(in Swedish; use Google translation)