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hmm.  either they passed the law or they are thinking of passing it.  it is one of the reasons that I am working on one of my projects, of sub-titling television programs, and Italy was one of the first to come up on the radar with these provisions.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 04:32:41 AM EST
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I thought so too, several years ago. But either they haven't passed it, haven't implemented it, or simply leave it to the judgement of local officials in each case (I think they have some freedom to reject applications anyway). In the last case, presumably the fact that I was discussing it in Italian made it clear that I would have no problems with the test
by gk (gk) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 06:18:15 AM EST
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good for you.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 06:35:05 AM EST
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My Dad gained his residency in Italy a year or so ago, and he hasn't managed to pick up the language very well.  His wife is almost fluent now though.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 08:38:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we're talking about citizenship though.

and I think the rules for residency are different for EU nationals and others in all EU countries.  in fact, residency should be automatic for the former.

by stevesim on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 09:00:12 AM EST
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No. You're confusing work and residence permits. Work permits are not needed for EU citizens, and can be quite difficult for others. For a resident permit, you need to prove you can support yourself, even if you are from an EU country. As far as I could tell, the procedure for residence permit was basically the same for all, except that EU citizens did not have to pay the fee.

Of course, if you're from the U.K., you also have to convince them that the U.K is in the EU.... (I sometimes wonder about that myself).

by gk (gk) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 09:24:23 AM EST
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Free movement in the EU, contrary to popular belief, is not free movement of people but free movement of workers. Free movement rules are designed to allow people to move temporarily to look for a job. If you can't prove you're not a burden on the local social safety net, they can kick you out.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 09:45:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That isn't the French system any more, not since 2004. I don't know if it was in application of a directive, but an EU citizen can now move here with no need for either work or residence permits (simply the passport as ID), as long as she doesn't become a burden on social benefits. There is no application to be made in advance (unless for some reason you want a permit...), so presumably the enquiry into whether you were being a burden on social benefits would come when you applied for them.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 12:15:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know how that contradicts what I said.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 12:30:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because you don't have to be a worker, just an EU citizen (who doesn't ask for social benefits).
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 02:40:05 PM EST
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Not quite. You have to be a worker or a EU citizen with sufficient resources that you are unlikely to ask for social benefits - in other words, they can check on arrival whether you qualify or not. Technically, they cannot check for the first 3 months, but (in Italy at least) it ironically gives you less time. For the residence permit you have to get an appointment which is likely to be more than 3 months ahead; for the registration at the commune you just go to the office and wait a few hours....
by gk (gk) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 02:50:42 PM EST
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"On arrival" supposes that you are questioned on crossing the border as to your intentions, and your ID papers are stamped. Is there anywhere where this happens?

As for a residence permit, it is no longer required (or shouldn't be).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 04:38:13 PM EST
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I meant after 3 months - I was trying to distinguish this from the suggestion elsewhere that this would only happen if you actually apply for benefits.

In practice, I wonder whether they don't really check at all any more? The change has moved EU-citizens from the office that specializes into checking into such matters to the commune which mostly does other things.

by gk (gk) on Sun Feb 5th, 2012 at 02:51:25 AM EST
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The directive dates from 2004
... Directive 2004/38/EC of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States  ... merges into a single instrument all the legislation on the right of entry and residence for Union citizens, consisting of two regulations and nine directives. This simplification aims to make it easier not only for the general public but also for public authorities to exercise their rights. The Directive also sets out to reduce to the bare minimum the formalities which Union citizens and their families must complete in order to exercise their right of residence.
I'd be really surprised if France had laxer rules than allowed by the directive, namely:
Right of residence for more than three months

The right of residence for more than three months remains subject to certain conditions. Applicants must:

  • either be engaged in economic activity (on an employed or self-employed basis);
  • or have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay. The Member States may not specify a minimum amount which they deem sufficient, but they must take account of personal circumstances;
  • or be following vocational training as a student and have sufficient resources and sickness insurance to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State during their stay;
  • or be a family member of a Union citizen who falls into one of the above categories.

Residence permits are abolished for Union citizens. However, Member States may require them to register with the competent authorities within a period of not less than three months as from the date of arrival. Proof of registration will be issued immediately on presentation of:
  • an identity card or valid passport;
  • proof that the above conditions are complied with (see Article 9 of the Directive on the proof required for each category of citizen). Union citizens engaged in training must show, by means of a statement or any other means, that they have sufficient resources for themselves and for the members of their families to ensure that they do not become a burden on the social services of the host Member State.

This will be sufficient to prove that they comply with the resources condition.
Family members of Union citizens who are not nationals of a Member State must apply for a residence permit for family members of Union citizens. These permits are valid for five years from their date of issue.

Under certain conditions the death of the Union citizen, his or her departure from the host Member State, divorce, annulment of marriage or termination of partnership does not affect the right of family members who are not nationals of a Member State to continue residing in the Member State in question.

Under these rules, indeed as you state, there's no need for prior registration or application to enter France or stay for under 3 months. However, I suppose accessing any kind of municipal service may require proof of registration as a resident of the commune, at which point one may be required to prove employment or another of the Directive's eligibility conditions. Is that not the case?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 12:34:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Italy (and, I think, France) registration at the commune is compulsory for everybody anyway, not just foreigners.
by gk (gk) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 01:08:04 PM EST
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And what can happen to someone who stays longer than 3 months without registering?

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 01:27:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In my experience, nothing.

The 3-month thing no longer applies in France, anyway.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 02:35:28 PM EST
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Even before, how did they ever show when you entered the country? This is why the 3-month rule isn't and never was of any great importance.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 02:38:48 PM EST
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No idea. I'm sure there are all sorts of nasty penalties specified in the law.

Did you know that you can lose your residence permit for not filling in the census? I recently got an email from Democrats Abroad warning of this - apparently over 70% of Americans in Florence haven't filled it in yet.

by gk (gk) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 02:36:14 PM EST
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Not in France. Afaik, it wasn't for French nationals, and it is no longer required for EU citizens. As long as I had a residence permit (pre-2004) I was under that obligation (it was stated on the permit). Now, if I need anything from the town hall (like registering to vote), they ask for the same things as for French nationals, ID and proof of domicile. The French law (that I'll try to find) says EU citizens benefit from the same conditions as French nationals.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 03:00:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
as I have a French and German passport (amongst others), I haven't bothered to register because I was working on my German passport.  If I plan to stay longer, I would look into it.
by stevesim on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 03:36:01 PM EST
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If you've a French passport, you don't need to do anything at all.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Feb 4th, 2012 at 04:25:03 PM EST
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