Solving problems accessing rights in other EU Member States
As a citizen of the European Union (EU) you have the right to move freely within the EU and the EEA. The EEA is the EU plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein. If you are an EU citizen living in another country in the EU, you have certain rights under EU law.
SOLVIT is a free service that can help EU citizens and businesses who are facing obstacles to having their EU rights recognised by public authorities in another country in the EU.
SOLVIT works as part of the national Government of each member state, so
there is a network of
SOLVIT centres across the EU.
What types of problems does SOLVIT help with?
The free movement of people, goods, services and capital are known as the four freedoms of the EU. If a public body in an EU country interferes with free movement, the body may be in breach of EU law. For example, if a business needs a special licence to operate in another EU country, and that licence is not required by local businesses, this could be against the principal of free movement.
SOLVIT tries to resolve disputes informally where EU rights are infringed. This includes problems about:
- Residence permission
- Employment rights
- Recognition of professional qualifications: (for example, doctors, nurses or engineers)
- Social security and pension rights
- Border controls
- Motor vehicle registration
- Access to education
Cases where SOLVIT cannot help
- If you have taken your complaint to court
- Consumer problems – you should contact the European Consumer Centre instead
- If you are seeking compensation for damages
- Where a business is having problems with another business
How to complain to SOLVIT
You should submit your complaint to the SOLVIT service online. You should include as much detail as possible. Your local SOLVIT Centre will contact you within 1 week. If you have a valid cause for complaint, your local SOLVIT Centre will forward it to the SOLVIT Centre in the other member state where the problem has occurred.
The two SOLVIT Centres will liaise with each other during the period of investigation and your home SOLVIT Centre will keep you informed of progress, and the proposed solution.
Outcomes of complaints
Proposed solutions through the SOLVIT service are not binding on the person making the complaint. If you are unhappy with the proposed solution, or if the problem goes unresolved, you can take legal action if you wish.
Getting information about your EU rights
If you are not sure about your EU rights, you can contact one of the following organisations:
Europe Direct provides a free telephone and e-mail service and acts as a first point of contact for information about the EU. It offers information on a wide range of subjects including the rights of EU citizens. It can also refer users to the best source of advice at EU, national, regional and local levels.
Your Europe Advice: Provides expert legal advice on the rights of citizens in the EU
There is also advice for the business community in the EU.
Enterprise Europe Network: Provides information, advice and assistance to Small Business Enterprises in the EU
The European Commission Representation in Ireland can give free legal advice on your single market rights.