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I couldn't follow this article. What are the three pillars? Where does the EC (EEC) fit in?


Hope it is clearer now. At present the article mentions a lot of obscure legal and historical points, which probably should be moved into seperate sections. E.g. an introductory article which outlines what the EU is, and a more detailed article with all the legal and historical technicalities. -- Simon J Kissane


Someone wrote

Citizens of member states have the right to reside in other member states for up to three months. This can be extended by applying for a residence permit, which must be automatically granted in some cases, e.g., if the person is employed in the state or has means to survive without government support. Some states (only the United Kingdom?) waive the requirement for a permit or any requirement to report to the local police.

IIRC there is no need to apply or hold a residence permit for EU or EEA citizens. EU and EEA citizens are basically free to live anywhere in the Union they want, provided they can support themselves; they don't need permits. Only non-EU/EEA citizens need to. -- Simon J Kissane

No, you are mistaken, Simon. In order to get tax and social security status in Luxembourg, you need a residency permit. This applies to other EU countries (France, Netherlands are for sure). sjc

The principle of the EU rule is that any EU citizen can live and work in any EU country. Some EU countries still issue residence permits even to EU citizens, which are always granted because they have to be under EU law. The only reasons why EU countries still make EU nationals go through the tedious and bureaucratic application process are probably 1) reluctance to give up xenophobic national habits, 2) the need to check whether the condition that people can support themselves is met. By the way, under EU law, being able to support oneself does not necessarily mean you have to have a job. Every EU citizen looking for one is allowed to move to another EU country and to apply for unemployment benefits there (I know several people who did that). There may be a time restriction though (3 months?). --Herman

But what happens to an EU citizen that doesn't apply for a permit? What can be done to them? I think the European Court of Justice's jurisprudence on the freedom of movement is rather liberal -- SJK

They can be fined at least. Maybe kicked out of the country too: I don't know. There was a court case in the Netherlands a while ago where a lawyer was prosecuted for giving an Englishman a false job, so he could get a residence permit. Without a job, obtaining a permit may be difficult, since "provided they can support themselves" in practice means that they need to prove that they have an income of some arbitrary amount (depending on the country) per year, or meet some other condition such as family/student/pensioned.

If I might weigh in with personal experience -- as far as I know, everywhere requires a residency permit, because everywhere requires an ID. Except, of course, the anti-EU UK. The UK doesn't have a national ID requirement, and it requires a lot more rigamarole than other countries, while pretending it isn't in the EU except when convenient. Case in point: I'm American (US), living in Germany (at the time), marrying an English resident of Germany in London, intending to return to Germany, where we both live and work.

At Heathrow, I explain I am there to get married. The Immigration (Customs?) agents says, "you know that doesn't mean you can live here..." I explain that my born-and-raised in England to English parents husband and I live in Germany, where we work. He repeats that he just wants to make sure that I understand I can't expect to be allowed to live in the UK. I explain that it's not an issue. He replies by telling me I will need to apply for a residence permit, but it's not guaranteed.

So, I get married. The marriage license is in English only (despite there being an EU regulation that legal documents have to be in several EU languages).


Is there? Can you quote me which regulation this is please? -- GWO


They are not available in other languages. I have it translated and notarized for the Germans, who demand that people follow the rules. I take it, 50 marks, my passport and new passport pictures, and my husban'd residence permit to the Immigration office in the German city where we live. The civil servant (normally unpleasant in the way civil servants tend to be) smiles hugely, congratulates me on my marriage and, 15 minutes later, hands me my residence permit. I mentioned my surprise at the ease of the whole process -- the civil servant replied that Germany was in the EU, my husband was an EU citizen, and legally, I was entitled to EU rights, despite being an American. Why should there be a question?

Every time I go to England, I get the same hassle, though. Funny thing is, I know a lot of UK citizens living in Germany. Many of them have lost their jobs, sometimes several times over. They aren't asked to leave...just given more training and stipends to get them through until they are employed again.

My point? I think you'll find that each EU country applies the rules somewhat differently, but that the UK tries to evade as many of the rules that threaten its insularity as it can.


As far as the EEC is concerned I thought it was the European Economic Community which is what the UK signed up for after its referendum. The EEC was (and I'm a bit too young to know this all) basically a free trade zone with now tarrifs and a common agricultral policy. Since then the EEC has evolved into the EU (The European Union) and moving to more political union (social chapter, central bank, euro etc...). Of course I await my correction :-) -- Alex.


Alex: IIRC, the UK joined the European Communities (the European Economic Community, the European Coal and Steel Community, and EURATOM) in 1973, before the referendum, under a Conservative government. Then Labour was elected, who at first said they were going to quit the EEC, but then said they would hold a referendum and let the voters decide. In 1975, the UK electorate voted to remain a member.

The European Union (and the social chapter, the euro, etc.) was established by the Maastricht treaty in 1991. But moves to political union weren't new -- the European Defence Community and European Political Community were proposed in the 1950s, but they never got off the ground. And Jean Monnet, the originator of the plan for the European Coal and Steel Community (which started the whole process off), always intended it to be the first step along the road to political union.

Of course you might say that is not what the British electorate was told, and you are probably right. The attitude of European governments towards the EU has always been ahead those of their electorates: constructing something like the EU is inherently an elite project, not a popular one. -- SJK


Eob: the figure you gave for the European Union, is that the whole EU or just the metropolitan EU? Some, but not all overseas territories of its member states count as part of the European Union: e.g. French Guyana is part of the EU, but Greenland isn't. -- SJK

--- What is "sui generis"? Could we have a definition or a link for this term please :) - MMGB

"sui generis" is legal jargon for "in a class of its own"