Every person holding the nationality of a member state is automatically also an EU citizen. EU citizenship complements, but does not replace, national citizenship. The Treaty established the right, previously confirmed by the European Court of Justice, of every European citizen to free movement and residence within the EU, whether they are economically active or not. The Maastricht Treaty also established the active and passive right to vote in European and local government elections. Ultimately, EU citizenship also improved diplomatic and consular protection by giving EU citizens the right to turn for help to the diplomatic or consular authorities of any other member state represented in a third country, if the citizen's own state is not represented there. The Treaty of Amsterdam, finally, extended the rights of EU citizens by prohibiting discrimination on grounds of gender, race, ethnic origin, religion or ideology, disability, age or sexual orientation.
The existence of common EU citizenship, however, in no way affects the highly heterogeneous nature of citizenship regulations within the individual states. Although nearly all member states acknowledge the right to citizenship based on parentage (jus sanguinis) as well as the principle of awarding citizenship to persons born within their territories (jus soli) (see below), there is no comparable liberal trend discernible where naturalisation regulations are concerned.
Jus soli regulations in the old EU member states (as at 2007)
|Jus soli for second generation upon reaching age of majority||Jus soli for second generation upon birth||Jus soli for third generation||No jus soli|
|Belgium, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, (Sweden)18, United Kingdom||Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, United Kingdom||Belgium, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain||Austria, Denmark, Greece, Luxembourg|
Source: Bauböck 2006