Joint civil society statement - Calling for protection of the rights of destitute mobile EU citizens

Civil society organisations join efforts to denounce the destitution many mobile EU citizens face, and to advocate for solutions now

Download the statement here

Click here to sign the statement

In 2022, the European Commission is preparing a new Communication regarding Directive 2004/38 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the EU. The goal of this new guidance is to clarify certain aspects of how the Directive should be interpreted and transposed by member states.[1] This occasion represents a key moment to address instances of misinterpretation of the EU legislation at national level. Together, the signing organisations urge the European Commission to use this opportunity to consider the experiences of destitution which many mobile EU citizens are confronted with across the EU. The new Communication should address the causes of destitution among mobile EU citizens, to ensure that no one is left behind in the context of free movement, one of the most treasured European values.

Many factors may lead to destitution among EU citizens when moving to another country, such as having a precarious or undeclared job, experiencing health issues, suffering domestic violence or being under exploitation or human trafficking. These circumstances may be related to the barriers in the labour market for migrants, in general, and the lack of safety networks after their arrival. However, some factors are related to identified gaps in the Directive 2004/38 (governing EU free movement) and/or the national legislations transposing it.

To ensure that the Commission will uphold its commitment to tackling inequality in the EU, we put forward the following recommendations for the consideration of European Union policy makers when formulating the new guidelines on free movement.



Arrels Fundació, Spain

BAG W - Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Wohnungslosenhilfe e.V., Germany

Bischof-Hermann-Stiftung, Germany

Collectif National Droits de l’Homme - Romeurope, France

Crisis, UK

De Tussenvoorziening, Netherlands


ECAS - European Citizen Action Service, Europe

Eurochild, Europe

Eurodiaconia, Europe

European Roma Rights Centre, Europe

FEANTSA - European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless, Europe

Fundación Secretariado Gitano, Spain

Hope Housing, United Kingdom

Infirmiers de rue asbl - Straatverplegers vzw, Belgium

Kompasset Kirkens Korshær, Denmark

Läkare i Världen (Doctors of the World), Sweden

Maruf Foundation, Netherlands/Europe

Neunerhaus, Austria

PICUM - Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants, Europe

Projekt Udenfor, Denmark

Stichting LOS, Netherlands

Vailla vakinaista asuntoa ry – No Fixed Abode, Finland

Valente, Netherlands

[1] European Commission (2020) EU Citizenship report 2020.