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2013: European Year of Citizens
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Question from Camille, France:

“Hello, I’m Camille, a student from Lyon. 2013 is being described as the European Year of Citizens. What will that change for us?”

Answer by Antigoni Papadopoulou, European Deputy:

“Twenty years after European citizenship was established, Europe’s 500 millions citizens are not aware of their rights. They have the right:

- to move freely within EU territory – to work freely – to exchange ideas – to travel freely throughout the EU – to seek diplomatic and consular protection – to raise questions to the committee of Petitions in the European Parliament – to go to the European ombudsman and try to find answers to their daily problems or any other answer they seek from the European Union’s institutions.

“I think we must make sure that this European Year of Citizens is not another celebratory year but that it is a year when definite practical action will be taken.

“At times of social, political, and economic crisis, it’s very important for European citizens to be aware of these rights and to make use of them.

“And we also believe in participative democracy. We believe that Brussels today is far away. A lot of people complain that they’re not aware of how the decisions which affect their lives are taken, that there is not a lot of transparency. So, during this European Year of Citizens, we aim to work together with NGOs, women’s organisations, youth organisations, national parliaments and other people in order to increase awareness and make sure that Europe’s 500 million citizens really know what this EU citizenship is all about.”

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