This contribution argues that the European Union can and should establish a legal framework for the identification and protection of stateless persons who reside in one of the Member States. Our proposal for EU legislative action is based on the worrying observation that the post-war international legal framework for protecting stateless persons has failed to take root in a majority of EU Member States. This contribution analyses the potential of the EU to address protection failures stemming from legislative inactivity of Member States. We argue that the EU is competent to address the issue and that EU action need not conflict with Member States’ prerogatives in nationality matters. The key elements of an EU directive on statelessness would consist of common criteria for i) a fair procedure for determining whether a person is stateless; ii) the standard of treatment to be accorded to stateless persons; and iii) the conditions of residence for stateless persons.