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Union citizenship, fundamental freedoms and freedom of movement

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Barrier, © picture alliance / Hans-Joachim Rech

22.06.2015 - Article

All citizens of the EU member states are citizens of the Union and as such enjoy important fundamental freedoms: free movement of goods, free movement of capital, free movement of workers, freedom to provide services and freedom of establishment.

These basic freedoms are the most visible gains that Europe has brought for its citizens. Germany and Europe have profited immensely from the fundamental freedoms. Cross-border mobility of workers is a key factor in boosting economic growth and helps reduce economic imbalances within Europe. The immigration of young skilled workers from abroad can make an important contribution to maintaining Germany’s prosperity and to stabilising our social security systems.

In addition, all citizens of the Union enjoy freedom of movement – the right to travel to any member state and to move around freely therein. This right can be used by anyone who can support themselves financially.

In recent times, debates have been going on in various EU member states on whether freedom of movement applies without restrictions, and on how to stop this right being abused. The European Court of Justice is also currently seized of the question of whether and under what conditions citizens from other EU countries are entitled to state benefits.

Germany has established a State Secretaries’ Committee to discuss this issue, and has managed to keep the debate grounded and find pragmatic solutions.

The Federal Foreign Office is steadfast in its position that this cornerstone of European integration should be neither called into doubt nor abused.

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