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EU citizens moving across borders [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for EU citizens moving across borders.


© tomhanisch / Fotolia

As an EU citizen you are free to travel to any other EU country to live, work, study or have a holiday – or for no particular reason at all. EU citizens are unlikely to be stopped at borders or waste time queuing for border checks (particularly where the Schengen area is concerned). You can stay in another EU country for up to three months without the need to complete any administrative formalities or to fulfil any conditions – except the requirement to hold a valid identity card or passport. For many Europeans, visiting family or friends, sightseeing, shopping, taking a language course or simply seeing an opera abroad has become a normal part of life.

EU citizens can take up employment in other EU country without restrictions or discrimination (an exception from this principle is employment in public service). Thanks to EU legislation on social security coordination, people moving across borders do not lose their social benefits (e.g. pension rights) as a result. Students usually have access to educational establishments on equal terms with nationals and – unlike non-EU nationals – pay the same tuition fees. Higher prices for museum entries for non-nationals are also a thing of the past. For longer stays, EU legislation ensures that national administrative formalities are kept to a minimum: while EU citizens may be required to register with the relevant national authorities, the necessary paperwork should not be excessive.

It is estimated that about 15 million EU citizens live in another EU country, mostly to work or study.

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