The right people have to move inside of the Member States of the European Union was juridically originated by the Treaty of Maastrich of 1992 and constitutes the cornerstone upon which the basic principles of citizenship of the Union are based.
This right has been difficult to implement in the different Member States of the European Union, because it is a principle that meant the suppression of internal borders between The Inner Six.
Currently, the regulation that rules over the right people have to circulate freely within the European Union is the Directive 2004/38/CE of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States.
Said directive amended previous regulations (Directive 90/364/CEE, Directive 90/365/CEE and Directive 90/366/CEE) and harmonized the criteria that should regulate the right to move freely, besides greatly reducing the bureaucracy around the exercising of this right.
We could basically classify this right of free movement into three possible cases:
● First, it is established that to stay for less than 3 months in a Member State, it is only necessary to have a national identification document issued by a Member State of the European Union, which means that the personal freedom of movement is totally and rapidly effective.
● Second, to stay for more than 3 months, it is necessary to prove a working or professional relationship to confirm the person’s status in the Member State or justify the possession of the necessary means not to become an economic burden to the Member State of destination and the enrolment in an insurance program that would protect the health of the foreigner. It is important to say that even if the Directive stablishes the aforementioned requirements, in reality, they are not demanded by most of the Member States.
● Third, and as the essence of the agreements achieved between the Member States, a person may request the right to reside permanently in a Member State, with the only requirement of having to justify having lived there for an uninterrupted period of over 5 years.
However, this right has caused controversy among the political parties of the Member States and the European Parliament, because it is an expression of the “benefits tourism”. The meaning of that term is that the citizens from a Member State take advantage of the social benefits system of another, finding loopholes and grey areas within the internal regulations of each Member State regarding the subject. However, in many occasions, the European Parliament has stated that this situation is small and that it represents a very small percentage of the social security and benefits reported in its normal operations.
Therefore, the free movement of people within the European Union has been an unprecedented success that has provided more effectiveness, agility and security to the citizens of the Member States of the European Union. Regarding citizens from third countries that are not members of the European Union and the right of free movement described above, it fades and appears biased and restricted depending on the third country involved and the country of destination.
We take this opportunity to greet you kindly and remind you that we are at your disposal to resolve any doubt that may arise regarding this subject