Wien, 26. November 2012 Press release

2013 will be “European Year of Citizens”

Spindelegger: “I am looking forward to an intensive dialogue and discussions on all our rights and possibilities as European Union citizens.”

Vienna, 26 November 2012 – The European Year of Citizens 2013 aims at providing better information for EU citizens regarding the rights and possibilities associated with their EU citizen status. In particular, this refers to ways of influencing European affairs, for instance through European parliamentary elections, petitions, the right to mobility within the EU and the right to access existing EU programmes.

“The right of citizens to move and settle freely within the EU is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of European integration”, said Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger. “The demolition of community borders within the EU for goods, services and people has benefited every single citizen and every single company within the EU. For instance, it has become a matter of course for young people to be able to learn and study in other European countries, for us to live and work where we please, to never have to worry about customs anymore. We have simply come to take many of these benefits for granted. For this reason, a discussion on how we can make it easier for EU citizens to recognise their rights in other EU member states is more than welcome at this point.” 

In this context, the Foreign Minister also referred to the European information initiative that was recently launched by the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and that will take the Minister and State Secretary Lopatka all over Austria in the course of the coming months: “We have to make sure that the citizens stay with us every step of the way. To achieve this, we have to define and discuss Europe on an ongoing basis – and that is exactly what Reinhold Lopatka and I will be doing over the coming weeks and months.”  

The European Year is also intended to stimulate the active participation of EU citizens in the political decision-making process. “The greater the awareness of citizens regarding their options for active participation on a European level, including the right to vote in European parliamentary elections and in municipal elections in their member state of residence, the more intensively will they make use of these options for democratic participation”, the Foreign Minister concluded.

Contact:
Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3262, 3739, 4550
Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
e-mail: abti3(at)bmeia.gv.at