What the EU does for its citizens: Specific examples

The European Parliament is constantly working to improve the lives of people in the European Union. More than 500 million people in the EU Member States benefit in many ways from the policies of the European Union, whether in their work, studies, leisure activities or family life.

You will find here some examples illustrating some concrete achievements of the EU that show why it is important to take an interest in European politics and exercise your right to vote.

Example 1: End of roaming charges

Since 15 June 2017, people visiting other EU countries have got used to making phone calls as if they were at home. That was the date when new rules entered into force in the EU to eliminate roaming charges for mobile phone calls.

Example 2: Study and train abroad

The Erasmus programme celebrated its 30th birthday in 2017. During this period, it has enabled 9 million people to study, train, do voluntary work or gain work experience abroad. In Luxembourg, 11 853 mobility grants were financed between 2014 and 2018.

Example 3: Living and working without borders

EU citizens can live and work in any Member State. Workers and their families have the right to live in a host country and to be treated in the same way as citizens of that country. The most recent EU measure is the 2015 labour mobility package.

Example 4: Travel with peace of mind

The EU has introduced common fundamental rights to protect and assist passengers, facilitate mobility and foster an internal market in transport, whatever mode of transport is used. There are clear EU-wide rules on when travellers are entitled to compensation for cancellations or delays.

Example 5: Better protection of your data

Since 25 May 2018, as a consumer in the EU, you have been covered by a uniform law on data protection throughout Europe. Companies can no longer base themselves in the country with the lowest level of data protection. The rights of access, deletion and rectification that consumers already enjoy will be partially extended and new rights added.

Example 6: Online shopping in the virtual EU

Geo-blocking is a form of discrimination that prevents online customers from obtaining goods or services via websites located in other Member States. To lift this restriction, the EU adopted a Regulation on geo-blocking which entered into force in all EU Member States in March 2018. Citizens have thus the right to access a wide range of goods and services under the same conditions throughout the EU, wherever they connect and without incurring additional costs.

Example 7: Food safety

In the European Union, food is safer than almost anywhere else in the world, thanks to EU rules. Throughout the food production and distribution chain, mandatory inspections guarantee optimal plant and animal health and ensure that food and feed are safe, of the highest quality, properly labelled and compliant with strict EU standards.

Example 8: Climate protection

The EU has done good work with its policies on climate and energy: CO2 emissions have fallen sharply, while the economy continues to grow. Europe is on track to meet or even exceed its 2020 climate and energy targets.

On 3 October 2018, MEPs adopted draft legislation aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles and increasing the market share of electric cars. The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars by 40% by 2030.

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