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Author: ECAS European Citizen Action Service

You Vote EU: Increasing Voter Turnout by Connecting Citizens to EU Policy

Last week ECAS hosted the launch of You Vote EU, a project aimed at stimulating citizens political participation in the 2019 European Parliament elections by increasing understanding of current and future EU policies. You Vote EU is coordinated by Italian organisation Riparte il Futuro, in partnership with VoteWatch Europe (Belgium), Vouliwatch (Greece) and Collegium Civitas (Poland). The project was triggered with a view to tackle low turnout levels of participation, such as those seen in the previous 2014 European Parliament elections. In addition, more than half the voters did not vote for reasons linked to the EU. Other issues which were identified include: low participation especially among young people, and lack of interest in EU policy. A web platform to provide information and  stimulate motivation among EU citizens. To tackle low participation, the project partners will create an innovative web platform to inform voters on EU policies and connect voters with their current representatives, new candidates or other voters. The platform will include citizens’ opinions on the European Parliament political and legislative process, profiles of MEPs and it will encourage debates, discussions and information on different EU topics. The user-friendly and interactive nature of the platform will allow citizens to not only have all necessary information about all candidates, but also find out which MEP best represents their views. Find more information about the project here here. The post You Vote EU: Increasing Voter Turnout by Connecting Citizens to EU Policy appeared...

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ECAS Backs Call for Transnational Lists for European Parliament Elections

In partnership with WeMove.EU, European Alternatives and The Good Lobby, ECAS has called for transnational lists for the European Parliament elections in 2019. The petition launched on 5 February by WeMove.EU and backed by ECAS calls for “real representation” of EU citizens in the European Parliament by making some MEPs accountable to all Europeans, rather than national electorates, through the use of transnational lists in the next European Parliament elections. Transnational lists, which would be used to elect MEPs for a pan-European constituency representing all Europeans, could help invigorate voter turnout in European elections, refocus Parliament towards EU citizens’ common interests and “breathe new life” into parliamentary debates. Fair representation of citizens On 7 February, MEPs are set to vote on the AFCO Committee’s legislative initiative on the composition of the European Parliament which, according to co-rapporteur Danuta Hübner, would “deal with the legacy of Brexit” by reducing the number of MEPs from 751 to 705, leaving a reserve of 46 seats to be used for either transnational lists or reallocated to new Member States. Ms Hübner hopes that the proposal will “reinvigorate citizens’ participation in the European democratic process”, whilst her fellow rapporteur, Pedro Silva Pereira, says “it assures a fair representation of citizens”. If the legislative initiative is approved by the Parliament, it will go to the European Council for unanimous approval before returning to the Parliament for...

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FAIR EU: A Citizen-Centric Approach to Political Participation and Free Movement Rights

On 2 February 2018 ECAS launched FAIR EU (Fostering Awareness, Inclusion and Recognition of EU Mobile Citizens’ Political Rights), a project aimed at the successful inclusion of EU mobile citizens in their host EU country’s civic and political life. The project aims at developing a holistic approach to identify and tackle obstacles to free movement rights and political participation. Free legal advice services at national level will be researched, and good practices and evidence-based recommendations on upcoming election campaigns will be identified. The project stems from the ongoing need to counter negative trends against mobile citizens’ rights. These issues were approached by the One-Stop-Shops project funded by the European Commission and led by the Migration Policy Group (MPG), with its direct continuation being the FAIR EU project and consortium. The campaign dissemination and outreach programme will be strongly citizen-oriented. The upcoming local elections in Belgium 2018 as well as the European elections in 2019 will provide the opportunity for a detailed and innovative crowdsourcing campaign. This campaign will crowdsource citizens’ opinions on obstacles to free movement and right to vote, as well as their suggested solutions. Other programme highlights include hosting a publishing platform which will showcase the results of the crowdsourcing, a video production series, and a workshop in the European Parliament to present the research findings and issue recommendations ECAS will coordinate the project in consortium with the following...

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EU Rights Clinic Calls for Further Protections of Citizens’ Rights in Phase 2 of Brexit Negotiations

The EU Rights Clinic has submitted a letter to President of the European Council Donald Tusk calling on the Council to instruct the European Commission to continue negotiations on citizens’ rights in the second phase of Brexit negotiations and to address those matters related to citizens’ rights that were not addressed in the interim deal that concluded the first phase of negotiations in December 2017. Letter to Donald Tusk Acquired rights absent from withdrawal agreement Following correspondence with the Commission’s Article 50 Task Force in December 2017, the EU Rights Clinic has received written confirmation that the acquired rights of certain family members and primary carers of children, who currently enjoy rights of residence, work and equal treatment under EU law, were not included in the interim deal on citizens’ rights that was reached on 8 December 2017 and which led to the conclusion of the first phase of Brexit negotiations. Based on statements made in the Council’s negotiating guidelines and directives, the Commission’s Essential Principles on Citizens’ Rights, as well as the European Parliament’s resolution on the state of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom, the EU Rights Clinic considers that the interim deal fails to cover the entire spectrum of rights that all EU citizens and their family members presently enjoy under EU law. In particular, the interim deal does not cover family members of EU citizens who have returned home after having resided in another EU country,...

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Citizens’ Call for Transparent Trilogues: Let’s build a more Democratic EU!

On 12 January 2017, ECAS and VoteWatch Europe submitted the project idea “Citizens’ Call for Transparent Trilogues: Let’s build a more Democratic EU!” to Advocate Europe, an idea challenge that calls on civil society actors to propose unconventional and transnational project proposals aimed at strengthening democracy in EU and responding to present challenges emerging at EU level. Our project aims to promote openness and transparency in the EU by making informal trilogue negotiations among the European institutions more accessible to citizens. In a recent study commissioned by the EESC, it was identified that 75% of EU legislation is decided behind closed doors according to procedures that are not envisaged in the Treaties and are not transparent. Considering that European legislation determines up to 80% of the laws that affect citizens’ daily lives, our idea is to put the issue to EU citizens and solicit the “wisdom of the crowd” on how to open up the informal negotiations between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to public scrutiny. We will: Use an online crowdsourcing platform to raise awareness on Trilogues among citizens and solicit citizens’ ideas for increasing transparency of decisions taken behind closed doors; Develop a list of proposals for opening up Trilogues and ask future Members of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to commit to implement them; Widely publicise those commitments and monitor their...

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EU Rights in the Spotlight – January 2018

The EU Rights in the Spotlight section for this month features one ECJ opinion and one ruling affecting, respectively, the freedom of residence of EU citizens and their spouses of the same sex and the status of ‘self-employed person’ for the purposes of the free movement directive. An EU citizen who, after more than one year, has ceased to work in a self-employed capacity in another Member State because of an absence of work owing to reasons beyond his control retains the status of self-employed person and, consequently, a right to reside in that Member State On December 20, 2017, the ECJ ruled that a national of a Member State retains the status of ‘self-employed person’ for the purposes of the Free Movement Directive where, after having lawfully resided in and worked as a self-employed person in another Member State for approximately four years, that national has ceased that activity because of an absence of work owing to reasons beyond his control. The judgment is the result of a request for a preliminary ruling referred to the ECJ by the Court of Appeal (Ireland), which was called upon to rule on the Irish authorities’ refusal to grant, in November 2012, jobseeker’s allowance to Mr Gusa, a Romanian self-employed plasterer who entered the territory of Ireland in October 2007. According to the Irish authorities, Mr Gusa was not entitled to enjoy the allowance because, after ceasing working in...

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Our Training Seminar on EU Law Rights and Advocacy: The Summary

On 9-10 July ECAS co-organized together with the AIRE centre a training seminar and a roundtable workshop under the Invisible EU Migrants project, funded under the European Program for Integration and Migration (EPIM). The training seminar on 9 July, which … The post Our Training Seminar on EU Law Rights and Advocacy: The Summary appeared first on...

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Call for Proposals Now Open

Under the framework of the Triple A project, ECAS is releasing a Call for Proposals which is open to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Macedonia, Montenegro, and Albania who provide information, advice and active help services which are free and … The post Call for Proposals Now Open appeared first on...

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