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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 26.05.2020, 23:54

New EU rules reduce formalities for living and working abroad

Eugene Eteris, European Studies Faculty, RSU, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 11.03.2019.Print version
Presently about 17 million EU citizens live and/or work in another EU country than their own. Around two million citizens are cross-bordering daily for work/study in one country but live in another. New rules radically simplify the procedures involved and increase freedom of movement in the EU states.

Initially, the “working abroad” rules were proposed by the European Commission back in April 2013, following feedback from citizens that there were long and cumbersome procedures. The rules were adopted in June 2016. EU countries had two and a half years to adapt to the new simplifications. See more on initial steps in Commission press release at: and more on new rules to cut red tape on citizens' public documents in:


The Commission has been working for years to simplify people's and companies’ lives when they exercise their free movement rights in the EU. Since June 2016, the EU states have had more than two years to adopt all necessary measures to allow for the smooth application of the regulation.


Currently, citizens moving to or living in another EU country must obtain a stamp to prove that their public documents (such as a birth, marriage or death certificate) are authentic, which makes life of about 17 million EU citizens quite complicated.


Under the new regulation, this stamp and the bureaucratic procedures linked to it will no longer be required when presenting public documents issued in one EU country to the authorities of another EU country. Under the new rules, citizens are also no longer required to provide a sworn/ official translation of their public document in many cases. At the same time, the regulation foresees strong safeguards to prevent fraud.


It’s becoming quite positive to discard costly and time-consuming bureaucratic procedures for citizens who need official public document to start for example a job in the “foreign country”. The new rules are making the daily lives of people living and working in another EU country easier and cheaper.

Short on new rules

The new rules put an end to a number of bureaucratic procedures:

  • Public documents (for example, birth, marriage, or the absence of a criminal record) issued in an EU country must be accepted as authentic by the authorities in another EU state without the need to carry an authenticity stamp;
  • The regulation also abolishes the obligation for citizens to provide in all cases a certified copy and a certified translation of their public documents. Citizens can request a multilingual standard form, available in all EU languages, to present as translation aid attached to their public document to avoid translation requirements;
  • The regulation sets safeguards against fraud: if a receiving authority has reasonable doubts about the authenticity of a public document, it will be able to check its authenticity with the issuing authority in the other EU country through an existing IT platform, the Internal Market Information System (IMI). More on the European IT platform see in:


The regulation deals only with the authenticity of public documents, so the EU states will continue to apply their national rules concerning the recognition of the content and effects of a public document issued in another Union country.                                                                    

 The Regulation covers public documents in the following areas: birth, name, marital status, divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment; registered partnership, parenthood, domicile and/or residence, nationality, absence of a criminal record and the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections and elections to the European Parliament.


The Regulation introduces multilingual standard forms as translation aids of public documents concerning: birth, marital status, capacity to enter into a registered partnership, domicile and/or residence, and an absence of a criminal record.


Not all standard forms are issued in all EU states; citizens can check which forms are issued in their EU country on the e-Justice Portal.


More information on public documents, incl. multilingual forms see in the E-Justice Portal at:  and in the                 

Public documents Regulation.



EU single market and freedom

The EU single market allows Europeans to travel freely, study, work, live and fall in love across borders. They have a great choice of products (either buying at home or cross-border) and benefit from better prices as well as high standards of environmental, social and consumer protection. European businesses – small and large– can expand their customer base and exchange products and services more easily across the EU.


Simply, the Single Market is Europe's best asset to generate growth and foster competitiveness of European companies in globalised markets.


With the Single Market Strategy, the Capital Markets Union and the Digital Single Market Strategy, the Commission has put forward an ambitious and balanced set of measures over the last four years to deepen the Single Market further and make it fairer. Several proposals have already been adopted, but the European Parliament and the Council still have to agree on 44 out of the 67 proposals set out in these strategies.


The Commission has also made important and forward-looking proposals to build a Banking Union in Europe as well as strengthen the circular economy, energy, transport and climate policies which will deepen the Single Market and foster sustainable development. To ensure that the Single Market remains fair, the Commission has proposed safeguards in the fields of employment, taxation, company law and consumer protection.


For the next long-term EU budget 2021-27, the Commission has proposed a new €4 billion Single Market programme, to empower and protect consumers and enable European SMEs to take full advantage of a well-functioning Single Market. More on budget in:


The Commission highlights three main areas where further efforts are needed to deepen and strengthen the Single Market:

  • Swiftly adopt existing proposals: The Commission has presented 67 proposals directly relevant for the proper functioning of the Single Market, 44 of which remain to be agreed. The Commission calls on the European Parliament and the Council to adopt the key proposals on the table before the end of this legislature. This includes relevant proposals to integrate digitisation and new technologies at the core of the Single Market, to ensure more secure and sustainable energy in Europe, and to build the Capital Markets Union.
  • Ensure the rules deliver in practice: Citizens and businesses can only enjoy the many benefits of the Single Market if the rules that have been jointly agreed actually work on the ground. The Commission calls on EU states to be vigilant in implementing, applying and enforcing EU rules and refrain from erecting new barriers. For example, the Commission will continue to ensure respect the following EU rules: on car emissions and e-commerce, on social media and the services sector, to name a few.
  • Continue adapting the Single Market: Faced with growth gradually slowing down at global level and a changing geopolitical context, the EU needs to show leadership and political courage to take the Single Market to a new level. There is significant potential for further economic integration in the areas of services, products, taxation and network industries. It will make the Union even more attractive to international trading partners and provide it with additional leverage on the international stage.


More information in the following web-links:

- Factsheet Single Market: Europe's best asset in a changing world;

- Factsheet Overview of Single Market initiatives;

- Communication Single Market: Europe's best asset in a changing world;

- Press release on standardisation; - Factsheet Digital Single Market; and -Joint statement on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the European Single Market.

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