The EU is not only a common market; it is a union of common values that shape the European identity. These values are set out in the Treaty on the European Union and also include the rights, freedoms and principles laid out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights: the "indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity; [the Union] is based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law. It places the individual at the heart of its activities, by establishing the citizenship of the Union and by creating an area of freedom, security and justice."
The Charter brings together into a single text all the personal, civic, political, economic and social rights enjoyed by people within the EU and apply to the EU institutions and Member States when they implement EU law.
Any national of a Member State is by default a citizen of the Union in addition to the person's national citizenship. The rights entailed in EU citizenship include, among others, the right to move and reside freely within the EU. A group of one million European citizens can call directly on the European Commission to propose a specific initiative (European Citizens' Initiative).
The EESC is very active in the promotion of fundamental rights, the rule of law and democracy, and especially in the fight against discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, disability or gender.