This essay aims to discuss the rights of European Union Nationals with regards to their citizenship within the community and in their respective states.
European citizenship was established by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. It basically requires that one in order to be classified as a citizen of the union must first hold the nationality of a member state. As such, it is incumbent upon the member state to lay down the conditions for the acquisition and loss of nationality. Correspondingly, each and every one who possess nationality in any of the European Union member states are also considered as European Citizens. This signifies that while these people are citizens of their home country, with the rights and responsibilities that citizenship involves, they are likewise considered as citizens of the European Union with additional rights and duties. In that order, many will find it difficult to come to terms with the idea of having a citizenship of an international organisation.
The Maastricht Treaty of 1992 set on establishing a citizenship shared by all European Union countries which provides for a clear set of rights which are open to all nationals of European member states wherein further studies were undertaken to study the feasibility of expanding the rights accorded to the EU nationals. The aforementioned treaty incorporates and bestowed on every European citizen fundamental and personal rights. Thereafter the Treaty of Amsterdam came into force in 1999 and The Treaty of Nice in 2001 facilitated an extensive grant of rights to the European Citizens which includes the following among others: The right to move and reside freely within the European Union, subject to certain limitation as may be provided for by the community law; the right to vote for and to run as candidate in Municipal and European Parliamentary election in any Member state the EU citizens resides; it likewise provides for access to the diplomatic and consular protection of another member state outside the European Union and the right to petition the European Parliament and to lodge a complaint before the European Ombudsman among others. Additionally, the aforementioned list is not exclusive, the European Treaties, the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, the Council of Europe's convention on Human Rights and the constitutional traditions of the members states accorded its respective citizens to enjoy these rights.
As a result, citizenship of the union provides for the enhancement of national citizenship devoid of replacing it. Similarly, the idea of a European Citizenship plays a part in bringing the peoples of Europe closer, which inculcates the advantages of European integration and most importantly, it supports peace and better understanding amongst the member states. It is also in this same light that European Citizenship supports and persuades peoples to move around the European Union either for economic or academic purposes; it promotes and advance European identity based on the foundation of the recognized common values, history and culture and it is on this light which correspondingly enhances mutual understanding between European citizens in respecting and remembering diversity in culture and at the same time facilitates inter cultural exchange of ideas.