Consumers: Before the European elections: How the EU affects our lives

Consumers: Before the European elections: How the EU affects our lives

The EU Parliament will be elected from June 6th to 9th. For many people, Brussels seems far away. But the EU has a variety of influences on our everyday lives.

Simply travel, work or make phone calls across national borders: This is possible within the European Union, for which the new parliament will be elected in around two weeks. Some advantages will probably only become really clear when they disappear again – as with Brexit, the UK’s exit from the EU in 2020. In addition to the major political and economic issues, the EU also directly influences the lives of citizens in many areas. An overview:


If you want to travel within the 27 EU countries, you don’t need a passport. A valid ID card is enough. You can also use it to travel to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You don’t usually have to show your ID at the borders. Driving across the EU’s internal borders by car? No problem, because your national driving license is automatically recognized.

Make a phone call

Anyone who wants to use their cell phone on vacation, on a business trip or during a semester abroad will pay just as much in another EU country as they would at home. So-called roaming at domestic prices includes calls, text messages and data services. The reverse is also true: if a mother from Germany calls her daughter on vacation in Italy, for example, she does not have to worry about additional costs.


The so-called freedom of movement for workers gives citizens of EU countries the right to freely choose their place of work within the EU. A work permit is not required.


Universities in the EU must offer both locals and interested applicants from other EU countries the same opportunities in order to be accepted. The admission requirements vary considerably depending on the university, but another EU nationality cannot be the reason for rejection. With international exchange programs such as Erasmus+, schoolchildren, students and trainees can gain experience abroad.


EU citizens can settle in any EU country. This applies not only if they want to work or study there, but also if they want to retire there. However, with Brexit, freedom of movement between the EU and the United Kingdom ended on December 31, 2020. Since then, visas must be applied for in advance to live, study or work in the United Kingdom.


Want to quickly change money before your trip and pay high fees? This is largely history within the EU. You can now officially pay with the euro in 20 of the 27 member states.


Consumers are protected by EU-wide warranty law. This means that a defective item must be repaired, replaced or at least partially refunded. Buyers are entitled to a two-year free guarantee and a 14-day right of withdrawal. This applies to both in-store and online purchases.


Sick on holiday? The European health insurance card means that urgent healthcare in another EU country must be available under the same conditions and at the same cost as in the insured person’s home country. Anyone who has statutory health insurance in Germany will automatically find the European version on the back of their insurance card.

Working in another EU country EU roaming FAQs and information on Brexit Information from the Federal Government Information from the Consumer Advice Centre

Source: Stern

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