No more residence cards for EU citizens from 2006

From 2006 onwards EU citizens will no longer have to apply for a residence permit to live and work in another EU country thanks to a new EU directive.

A new European directive removing residence permits for EU nationals living in another Member State was approved by the Parliament in second reading on 11 March 2004. The new law will come into effect in 2006, and stipulates that EU citizens will no longer have to apply for a residence permit to live and work in any other EU country. However, Member States can still ask EU citizens to register with the local authorities, but this decision is up to each Member State.

The concept of the directive is that EU citizens should be able to move between Member States as freely as nationals of a Member State moving their place of residence in their own country. It will reduce bureaucracy and ease mobility across EU countries.

The Parliament adopted the version of the proposal presented by the Council in its common position without amendment. Some MEPs claim that the Council issued a threat to Parliament that it would block the legislative procedure if amendments were adopted. Italian MEPs Maurizio Turco and Marco Cappato highlighted the fact that the committee rejected the amendments concerning the definition of the ‘family’, which were designed to establish the principle of mutual recognition by Member States, in particular to allow couples, irrespective of the sex of the partners, to be able to move freely within EU territory.

At the moment, there are five million of EU citizens that live in another Member States. Of the 15 current members of the European Union, ten currently oblige EU nationals to apply for residence permits after a certain length of stay. Only the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Austria allow EU nationals to live and work in their country without a residence permit. Spain passed a new law in December, and France voted in its new legislation last November.


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