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Free movement of people

Freedom of movement and residence for persons in the EU is the cornerstone of Union citizenship, which was established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. The provisions governing the free movement of persons are laid down in Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, although substantial implementation obstacles persist.

Free movement of workers is a fundamental principle of the Treaty enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and developed by EU secondary legislation and the Case law of the Court of Justice. EU citizens are entitled to:

  • look for a job in another EU country
  • work there without needing a work permit
  • reside there for that purpose
  • stay there even after employment has finished
  • enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages

The provisions governing the free movement of workers are laid down in Directive 2014/54/EU on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers

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