ETTW – POLITICAL UPDATE No. 5 – July 8, 2014

POLITICAL UPDATE No. 5

July 8, 2014 

  • The new European Parliament at work

 

The 751 members of the European Parliament elected in May have now started working.  About half of the members are elected for the first time.   The 20 standing committees have now been organised with a president each and four vice-presidents. These elections took place yesterday.

The committee which is most important for our work in ETTW is the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

You can see its members here.

The new chairman is Mr. Claude Moraes,  from the socialist group  (British Labour member).  He has been a MEP since 1999.  He is of Indian origin and has a large part of his life worked for the improvement of conditions for immigrants.

I will on behalf of ETTW take direct contact to Mr. Moraes and his team.

It will also be very interesting to see, if an Intergroup on expat affairs will be created by the new parliament.

ETTW has been invited to meet the new MEPs at a reception organised by our partner the European Movement today, July 8. And we will, of course, be present.

ETTW policy :  To work closely with the members of the LIBE committee on all our priority policies. And to do the same with the Intergroup, if it is created.

 

  • The voting of expats in the European elections

 

We are gathering information from all 28 EU member states on how many expats took part in the elections (in the large majority of countries where it is possible). On the basis of that we will make concrete proposals on how to make many more expats vote in the next European elections in 2019.

ETTW policy :  To promote that European expats always take active part in all elections they are allowed to vote in – be it national elections, European elections, referenda, etc.  In order to get there procedures have to be simplified and streamlined and electronic registration and electronic voting made possible.

 

  • Italy new presidency in the EU

 

From July 1 Italy has taken over the presidency of the EU from Greece. Its logo is very modern design – symbolising a swallow in flight .

 

And here you have the presidency’s website in English :   http://italia2014.eu/en/  

Prime minister Matteo Renzi presented the programme of the presidency to the European Parliament last week.  His full speech is here.

His overall description on how he sees Europe is in this statement :

“Isn’t it thrilling to think that you have been called today to realise the dream of the United States of Europe, a dream of a generation that began creating a new entity on the ruins of the war? So we – the Erasmus generation – should tell our children that Europe today can be the place where hope is alive and breathing”.

The Italians have give one of its priorities to young people. Very much in line with our work in ETTW.

The ministers of Justice and Home Affairs have their first informal meeting in Milan today and tomorrow  (July 8-9).  You can see the agenda here.

There are no agenda points of direct importance to our ETTW priorities.

The Council meetings on Justice and Home Affairs will take place on October 9-10 and on December 4-5.

ETTW policy :  To work closely with all EU presidencies on our priorities.

 

  • The European Commission – the next steps

 

The present Commission under president Barroso continues until October 31. By the nits 5 year mandate expires.  As a number of Commissioners have been elected members of the European Parliament they have, of course, stepped down as commissioners.  Their tasks have been distributed to other Commissioners for the remaining 4 months.

Former vice-president Viviane Reding’s portefolio in justice and home affairs will be handled by the Austrian commissioner, Mr. Johannes Hahn.

The procedures to nominate the members of the new Commission from November 1 are ongoing.  Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxembourg is foreseen to become the next Commission president. The Parliament will have its vote on him on July 16.  All other 27 candidates as members of the Commission have been or will be presented by the member states in the coming weeks, and in September the Parliament will arrange hearings with each of them and vote on their nomination.

When the organisation of the future Commission is concerned work is ongoing to give the responsability for all issues of importance to citizens to one Commissioner and not like today have them spread under several commissioners and in several directorates-general.  The final decision on that will be for the new Commission to take in November.

ETTW policy :  To work hard for making expat affairs one of the priorities in the new Commission and to see them handled « under one hat ».  And after that to work closely with those responsible.

 

  • Preparations for a new European policy for the expats / diaspora

 

ETTW is well under way in its preparations of concrete proposals for a new and coherent European policy for European expats wherever they are.  We have had the first working group meeting on June 5 and the next one takes place on July 15.  The aim is to assist the European institutions and not least the coming Latvian EU presidency (spring 2015) in their work on this important issue.  The Latvians have – as I have previously mentioned – decided to make that one of their priorities.

One of our initiatives is to organise a conference on this topic in Brussels in the second half of January 2015.   I believe that the Latvian Presidency is planning a bigger conference on diaspora issues later next spring. They could support each other.

ETTW policy :  To work for a forward looking and dynamic expat policy on European as well as on national level.

 

 

 

  • Free movement campaign

 

Our partner New Europeans has launched a petition for free movement and the rights of EU citizens :

http://neweuropeans.net/free-movement-campaign

ETTW policy:  We support this initiative and encourage people to sign the petition.

 

  • The value of mobility and of expats

 

All over Europe people discuss and dispute on the effects of mobility and the value of expats.  At the same time a lot of studies have been made and are on the way in many countries and EU institutions.

ETTW has decided to make it one of its priorities and has created a working group under the leadership of Chris Ugilt Hansen. We are looking for partners in the academic world for this work, which is of crucial importance.

ETTW policy:  To ensure that all available information on these topics is easily accessible and that facts still missing will be analysed and presented.

 

  • Our new members and partners

 

We are continuing our efforts to have members supporting our aims in all countries in Europe.

In addition to our member organisations and our candidate members we now also have 32 individual candidate members from all over Europe.  They want to support our work and in many cases also work for us as volunteers in our working groups, at conferences, in our activities on the web and in our social media, etc.    You see an overview of all our present members here.

In addition we are in active dialogue with a number of supporting organisations such as Friuli nel Mondo in Italy, a number of Spanish organisations, the big Swiss expat organisation ASO (which has invited us as guest to their annual conference in Baden i August) – and several more.

We have also made a partnership agreement with the organisation Européens sans Frontières.

 

 

  • Communicating with European expats around the world

 

With 80 mio. European expats or more scattered around the world  it is an important challenge how to communicate with them and make them aware of their rights and what work we are trying to do for them. In the countries which have strong national expat organisations this work is easier than for expats from countries, where no such national organisation exist.

It is evident that the use of social media, of TV and radio and of other media plays the central role. Perhaps not yet – but that is how it should be. The question is how and with whom.

I am preparing an article on How to communicate with expats worldwide  for the organisation Club of Venice, which is an informal club of all communication directors in the governments of the EU member states and of the EU candidate countries.  I am the vice-president of that Club and is contributing this article to our magazine Convergences.     It will, of course, also be available on our ETTW website.

Question :  If you have suggestions to this communication strategy, please let me know.

ETTW policy :  To organise with our members that we have an interactive communication with as many European expats in the world as possible.

 

  • Calendar on coming events of interest to expats       (edited by Raymond Xerri)

 

The newest Calendar will always be available on our website here.

 

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen president of Europeans Throughout the World.

niels@euromonde.eu           www.euromonde.eu  

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: The new members of the Civil Liberties Committee

Today – July 3, 2014 – the European Parliament appointed its committees for the coming years.

ETTW is in particular interested in the Work of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

Here is the list of its new members:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/libe/members.html?action=0&webCountry=&webTermId=&name=&politicalGroup=&bodyType=&bodyValue=&type=&filter=#menuzone

We already know and Work with a number of its members.

Practical Update No 3 – update June 9

 

This is my first practical update for the spring. I will briefly mention initiatives taken during the last 5 months, which I suppose are of interest to our members, candidate members, our partners and other friends of European expats.

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  1. My visit to Riga, March 11-12, 2014:

This was a very useful working vist to prepare for our cooperation with the coming Latvian EU presidency in spring 2015. We aim at working together for a new and coherent European diaspora policy. The timing with the new European Parliament, the new European Commission, and new incoming EU presidencies interested in expat afairs is in our view right.

The debate and some of the results in the European elections also show that an extra effort to help and work actively for European expats is more than even essential.

  1. My visit to Austria, March 18, 2014:

I visited Vienna for private reasons mid March, and this gave me the opportunity to visit the organisation of Austrian expats, Auslandsösterreicher-Weltbund.  I had a very good and constructive meeting with Dr. Irmgard Helperstorfer, secretary-general of the organisation. I learned about their many activities for their members and about the fact that they are almost fully financed by the Austrian government and by the Länder governments in Austria.  I explained our strategy and work – and that we should be very happy to work closely with them and hopefully some dayt also see them as one of our members.  We already exchange information and materials. And we keep each other informaed about new activities and plans.

  1. My visit to Paris, April 9, 2014:

At this meeting I had a very good and constructive meeting with the leadership of our member organisation, Mission Laïque Francaise.  I met its president, M. Yves Aubin de la Messuzière, its director-general, M. Jean-Christophe Deberre, and the member of our ETTW Board. M. Bernard Mis, secretaire-general.  I was informed about the main parts of their work, and I expalined our strategy and plans. We agreed that the two other big French expat organisations ought also to be members of ETTW. And we had a good discussion on their suggestion that ETTW should take initiative for a cooperation between the different networks of European and international schools. I agree toi that and will in autumn 2014 take steps to move ahead also n that area.

While in Paris I also met the leaders of Brits-in-France – an organisation representing the about 200.000 British citizens living in France. I met the members of their executive committee, Mr. Christopher Chantrey and Mr. Rodney Harper. They are in particular working for voting rights for British citizens in national elections in the UK, and they ave also been vfery active in connection with the preparations for the European elections.  We agreed to stay in close contact and to work as much together as possible.  We have already made mutual links to each other on our websites.

  1. Our Board meeting in Brussels on April 11, 2014

The Operational Minutes from that meeting have been circulated and are a disposal.  The meeting also included an in-depth briefing by the Greek EU presidency on the proposal on Consular protection. And the meeting was as usual followed by a reception with inveted guests from the EU institutions, the partners, other friends and our many volunteers in our work.

  1. My visit to Bern on May 7, 2014

At that visit I visited the big Swiss organisation of expats, Auslands-Schweizer-Organisation, ASO  or in French:  Organisation des Suisses de l’étranger  in Bern. I was accompanied by our indididuan candidate member in Switzerland, Chris Ugilt Hansen. And we met Mrs. Sarah Mastantuoni, co-director of the organisation.

We had a presentation of their many activities for their 750.000 Swiss citizens abroad, incl. 453.000 inside the EU.  They are very worried about the possible consequences of the recent Swiss referendum on immigration and are taking a number of initiatives in that context. 

They are like the Austrains very interested in our work and strategy and want to work with us.

We have already been invited to their annual congress in Baden on August 15-17, 2014. And we will be present.

 

While in Switzerland I also had a meeting in Zürich with Chris Ugilt Hansen and his colleagues on how to develop a sponsoring strategy for ETTW. A number of possible inistives, incl. pilot projects, were discussed.

 

  1. New ETTW website  www.euromonde.eu

As you know our new website has been launched. It has been prepared and is at the moment run by our volunteer Henrik Blicher in Lucarco in Switzerland. It has been constructed in such a way that it works very well also with all mobile devices, which today are more than half of all computers using the web.  At the same time our presence on the social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) are integrated in our the home page of our site. And Europe Media Monitor EMM delivers fresh news of relevance to expats around the clock from more than 4.000 on-line sources.

The puprpose of our website is to give our members and all others easy access to information of relevance to expatriats. And we will also have a chapter FOR MEMBERS ONLY with a password, where we will be able to communicate with our members directly.

Please, ensure thatyou and all your relevant networks link to our website.

 

  1. Our social media sites:

Follow us and contribute actively on our three social networks sites:

  • LinkedIn group:  Europeans Throughout the World
  • Facebook group:  Europeans Throughout the World
  • Twitter:  @euromonde1 

We need to get these sites much more integrated into the sites of many others. Please, help us doing that.

We also have a YouTube site (available on our web site under the name ETTW TV).  We need small videos and interviews from our members and beyond.

 

  1. Our cooperation with government services dealing with expat affairs

Most member states in the Council of Europe have offices dealing with expat and disapora affairs.

Raymond Xerri, our vice-president from Malta, has agreed to keep in close contact with them on behalf of ETTW.

He is about to circulate a Questionnaire to each of them in order to collect information for us about their activities and structures. This will be very heltful for us

 

  1. The rolling ETTW CALENDAR on coming events of interest to expats

Raymond Xerri has also agreed to be the editor of this calendar. Please, let him know of new initiatives and events you want to be in the Calendar.  His e-mail is:  raymond.c.xerri@gov.mt 

 

  1. ETTW Working Groups

A number of working groups have been launched to prepare concrete suggestions in each of our priority areas.  The cahirmen and members are from inside as well as from outside the ETTW. Our partner organisations are also taking active part – also because the results of these working groups, of course, also will be at their disposal.

I am not myself a member of any of these working groups. I strongly believe it is best to leave this work to volunteers mostly from outside the Board. Then we will discuss their proposals in the Board, when we have received them.

The working methods of the groups are decided by the groups themselves. It can be skype meetings, internet exchanges or physical meetings.

About which groups have been started:  See my POLITICAL UPDATE no. 4 of today.

New groups will be launched when necessary and when we have volunteers to run them.

 

  1. Members of ETTW:

As stated in our Statutes it is our General Assembly which takes decisions on who can become full members.  The next meeting is on November 7, and we will see, who might have applied for full membership by them.

In the meantime we have a number of Candidate Members such as POLONICUS of Polish expats and ROMBEL of Romanian expats. A handful of other organisations will most likely join as Candidate members during the summer.

In order to ensure that our many volunteers – who all work for us on a totally unpaid basis – have a certain visibility in ETTW I have decided to introduce the informal status as: Individual Candidate Member.  Here is the list as it appears for the moment on our website:

https://euromonde.eu/our-members/  

More are most welcome.

 

  1.  Fact sheets on topics of interest to expats

As you know we have over the last six months produced and circulaed a number of FACT SHEETS (on topics such as Consular Protection, the Swiss Referendum, the Commission’s Recommendation on Voting Rights in National Elections, etc.).

We intend to continue and build out this service to our members.

And suggestions for topics and for editors are most welcome.

 

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen

President of ETTW

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PRACTICAL UPDATE No. 3

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  1. Follow-up to our Board meeting on February 28 :

Please, go through the operational conclusions from our Board meeting – and do the necessary agreed follow-up.  There are a number of important points for each member as well as for  the members of the daily steering committee.

  1. Our Office in Fondation Universitaire, 11, rue d’Egmont, B-1000 Bruxelles

We are at the moment « upgrading » our office technically and operationally. We aim at having a fully fonctioning office there as soon as possible. Please, remember to put our office on your mailing lists to ensure that we have your newest publications – for mutual inspiration

  1. Our short ETTW promotion flyer  ETTW – ABOUT US

See enclosed the final version in English. You are most welcome to use it as you wish. And I hope you will help us having it in as many other languages as possible (for our website, etc.)

  1. Our weekly Media Reports

As you know thay are handled by George Vlachopoulos. If you do not get them already and want to have them, please send George a mail about it:  george.vlachopoulos@hotmail.com

  1. Our online media monitor for ETTW:

As you are already informed the address is:

http://emm.newsbrief.eu/NewsBrief/alertedition/en/EuropeanExpats.html 

I am still waiting for your suggestions for key words and combinations of key words, which this automatic monitor can use to identify the most interesting articles in the 4.000 online media it checks every 10 minutes.

And some of you also wanted EMM to monitor your regular on-line publications. In order to be able to do that I need to have the link to the publication you want it to monitor

  1. Our  ETTW social media sites

We have since some time our own social media sites:

LinkedIn:   group:  Europeans Throughout the World

Facebook:  group:   Europeans Throughout the World

Twitter:     @euromonde1  

The purpose is to present our goals and our activities – and contribute to the ongoing debate on our priorities.

PS :  Please, take active part on these sites!   It makes no sense that I continue to be almost the only contributer !

  1. Our new multifunctional, mobile website  www.euromonde.eu

I am still working hard together with Henrik Blicher to get it right. We are waiting for some special graphics and also more contributions.

Some of you have already seen the “building site” off-line.

We plan to go live with the full site early April.

  1. A number of active supporters to assist us in the further development of our work

I have the happy message for all of us that a handful of active supporters have agreed to help us in the further development of our work. Such as:

Ramon Jimenez Fraile (ex head of unit in the EU Council) – will assist in the work with the EU institutions and with relations to Spanish organisations and individuals

Giuseppe Rosin (ex head of unit in the Commission) – will assist in our work with the EU instistutions and with relations with Italian organisations and individuals

Steen Illeborg  (ex director in the Committee of the Regions) – will assist in our work with the EU institutions

Ingeline Bonde  (active member of Danes Worldwide and manager in international communication company) – will assist in service to our member organisations

Marina Buna, Ruben Loodts, Kris Snick and Katharina Lawall  – will help us in our special work for young European expats

More good people will join us very soon – incl. a colleague with special experience in the European Parliament.

 

  1. Payment of the membership fees

This is being handled by our treasurer.  If any questions, please contact him directly:  paschalis.papachristopoulos@ec.europa.eu 

  1. Coming visits to other organisations by me:

March 18:  visit to our Austrian colleagues in Vienna:  Auslandsösterreicher-Weltbund. Meeting with Mr. Irmgard Helperstorfer, general-secretary   (I will be in Vienna for private reasons)

April 9:      visit to our French member organisation Mission Laïque Francaise in Paris:  meeting with MM. Yves Aubin de la Messuzière, président, Jean-Christophe Deberre, directeur-general, and Bernard Mis, secretaire-general.  We will in particular discuss our plans for special efforts for young European expats and how Mission Laïque Francaise can assist actively in that work

April or May:  visit to our Swiss colleagues in Berne – ASO – Auslandschweizer Organisation

Mid May:  visit to the coming Italian EU presidency and to a new expat-relevant Italian organisation in Rome (I will be in Rome for private reasons)

  1. Calendar on coming activities of interest to expats

Please, remember to mail me events to include in the next edition of the Calendar

PS:  I look for a person to take over as editor and manager of the Calendar. Who volunteers?

  1. Our next Board meeting on April 11, at 11.00

As decided our next Board meeting will take place on April 11 at 11.00 (forllowed by a reception at 16.00) – all in Fondation Universitaire, 11, rue d’Egmont, 1000 Bruxelles.

The key topics at the agenda will be: 

  • Updates since last Board meeting
  • The European elections campaign
  • The preparations for a European Policy for the diaspora (Commission, European Parliament, the presidencies, not least our agreement with the coming Latvian presidency, etc.)
  • Our plans for a special effort for young European expats (incl. a special working group)
  • Plans for our future organisation and finance (sponsoring, etc.), incl. the mandate for the special working group
  • Mid-term report on the Greek EU presidency by Mr. Kostas Pappas, counsellor at the Greek Permanent Representation in Brussels  (esp. about the Consular Protection dossier).

 

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen

niels@euromonde.eu

March 17, 2014    [/level-registered-users]

PRACTICAL UPDATE No. 2

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  1. The social network LinkedIn :

As many of you will know LinkedIn is a free social network, which in particular is used for professional, business and organisational purposes.

We have now started two special ETTW groups on LinkedIn:

  • One closed group – only for people on invitation (the Bureau members and others involved in our work). Its name is: ETTW VIP

Its purpose is the facilitate fast and easy internal information between us all

  • Another one for everybody:  Name:  Europeans Throughout The World

Its purpose is to reach out to the LinkedIn public at large – 260 million. Many of them are European expats.

  • I kindly ask you to join LinkedIn as soon as possible, if you are not already a member of this free network. I enclose a description of it, which I have written.
  • When you have joined you can easily find out two groups by seaching them under each of their names in the Search box.
  • Our present website continue to be under the address:  www.euromonde.org 
  • As we want to reach out to many more people, not least young people around the world we are creating a new multifuntional website with easy access also from mobile devices, with Google Hangout service, You Tube,  and much more.
  • It is being contructed under the web address:  www.euromonde.eu    Of course, it makes at the moment a reference to our old website to ensure that nobody will try to visit us in vain.  More information in January.
  • SKYPE: as we are dispatched all over Europe I want us to use the free SKYPE service as much as possible in our conferences. From my other tasks I am very much used to chair conferences with several participants at SKYPE conferences.This will save us all time and resources.  So if you are not a member of this free service, please register. It is very easy.  I enclose a note, I have written about how. Please, let me know, when you are in.
  1. Our web sites:
  1. Our member organisations:

I have made new progress in contact to relevant ministries, parliamentarians and organisations in Germany, Spain, Poland and Portugal.  I will pursue them in January. Our aim is, of course, to have member organisations in all European countries as soon as possible.

  1. Special effort for YOUNG European expatriats:

I have also established contacts to leaders of a couple of very big and very active youth organisations and movements in Europe. They are very keen in helping us in our work.

 

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen

niels@euromonde.eu

December 22, 2013  [/level-registered-users]

PRACTICAL  UPDATE  NO 1 from The President :

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This is my first Practical Update about our work in ETTW. I intend to circulate it to members of the Bureau and others who are directly involved at regular intervals. The purpose is to ensure openness and transparency in what we are doing.

And you are, of course, most welcome to make comments and questions to it – and to suggest points to add to the next edition.

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen

e-mail:  niels@niels-jorgen-thogersen.dk    Skype:  kimbrer  

              Mobile /sms :  0032 47 47 47 040

 

  1. The operational Minutes from the Board meeting on November 15:  Our secretary-general Marie Claude Hayoit de Termicourt will finalise them this week together with Nicholas Newman
  2. The new statutes for ETTW:  they will be published in Moniteur Belge in the very near future. Coordination:  Marie Claude (in charge), Ria Heremans, Nicholas Newman, Koen van der Schaeghe
  3. Our finances:  Our new treasurer Paschalis Papachristopoulos will together with the previous treasurer make a precise update before Christmas.  And the necessary transfer of the mandates vis-à-vis our bank will also be done before the holidays
  4. Our list of members:  Nicholas Newman has asked to comments and corrections to the present list. Deadline: Dec. 6.  So the up-to-date list is about to be ready
  5. Our website  www.euromonde.eu:   Nicholas Newman has at my request prolonged it for a year and cleaned it for malware.  I have received the necessary codes. With my long communication background, also in web communication, I intend to make a plan for its future structure and contents  (with suggestions welcome from you all, of course).
  6. LinkedIn:  I am planning also a special LinkedIn site (external and internal). More to follow soon.
  7. Facebook:  We already have a Facebook site for ETTW:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Europeans-Throughout-the-World/186668841355237?fref=ts

We are also looking at that one to ensure that it in the future will be fully integrated into our coming pro-active and very visible communication effort.

  1. Rolling Calendar (online) on coming events of interest to ETTW:  To be launched in January
  2. Media News of interest to ETTW:  a pilot project to be started in a few days by George Vlachopoulos – in cooperation with me.  It will bring short versions of interesting articles, interviews ´, etc.  The final form and dissimination to be decided later after a trial period among ourselves
  3. Transparency Register: our registration in the EU Transparency Register (http://ec.europa.eu/transparencyregister/info/homePage.do)has to be updated to ensure that we are becoming a hearing partner for the EU, and that we and our expertise and priorities are well known throughout the EU institutions. Action: I will handle that.
  4. Our membership of other organizations:  George Vlachopoulos is this afternoon at my request taking part in a meeting called by the European Movemnet for all its members, which are international associations. This is the first meeting of that sort. I will circulate George’s minutes after the meeting.
  5. My practical working methods:
  • I have already met and/or spoken to most of the members of the Bureau. Very useful indeed. On the basis of these talks I will prepare the next steps
  • So far I have prepared 4 draft papers:

–        A short presentation of European expats and of ETTW

–        Our 4-year Strategy for 2014-17

–        Our more detailed Work programme for 2014

–        An overview of what I believe we have to offer our member associations to ensure that we at ETTW are really an added value for them

–        I will update these papers based on the input I already got from our talks or in writing – and the talks I still am going to have

  • To start the agreed small Working Group with a few people from inside and a few from outside in the second half of January. I will chair this group. My aim is to finalise its recommendation by the end of March at the latest.

 

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen [/level-registered-users]

POLITICAL UPDATE No. 3

[level-registered-users]March 16, 2014 

  1. The European Commission’s Recommendation of Jan. 29, 2014 on voting rights

As you know the Commission made a Recommendation esp. to 5 EU member states ( Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Malta and United Kingdom) that they should show more flexibility in giving their citizens living in other EU member states continued voting rights in national elections.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), which has an advisory role in the EU is preparing an OPINION supporting the Commission’s initiative. The responsible rapporteur is the Latvian member Andris Gobins, and they have asked me as president for ETTW to assist in drafting and defending their Opinion.  I enclose for your information the draft we have made (where ETTW is explicitly mentioned). Several of you – our ETTW members – contributed to this process.  This has been a very interesting task – done in a very short time.   The next steps is a meeting in the special committee dealing with these matters on April 7, at 10.00 (a public meeting), where I will assist the rapporteur in the presentation and discussion. And if our proposal is adopted it will go to the EESC plenary on April 29-30 for adoption.

            Please, keep the draft in limited circulation until the final version is there.

    

This role is in my view a very good example of how we can and should work in the future in ETTW. And where we give added-value to our members and to our goals.

As you might have heard the Lib-Dem political party in the UK  ( a coalition partner in the government) decided at its congress on March 1-2 to support the Commission’s initiative.  Another political step forward.

 

 

 

  1. A European policy for the European diaspora:

The coming Latvian EU presidency (spring 2015) intends to make a new and active European policy for the 80 mio strong European diaspora one of its priorities.

I was earlier this week invited to Riga to meet Latvia’s foreign minister, Mr. Edgars Rinkevics, the chairwoman of the European Committee of the Latvian Parliament and a number of ministerial officials.  The purpose was to present our ideas for such a policy and to discuss how we can help the Latvian presidency in the preparations and activities in this field.

The meetings were very positive. The minister sent out a press statement to that effect after our meeting.  See the statement enclosed.

Some of the ideas and plans we discussed were topics like giving priority to diaspora issues in the coming European Parliament and coming European Commission (incl. a Commissioner responsible for diaspora affairs), a special conference for the dispora during the presidency, a request for a feasibility study on the economic impact of expatriates, better protection of Europeans outside the EU, a special European Year of Diaspora in 2016 or 2017, etc..

Aldis Austers – who very efficiently had organised my visit – and I will very soon make a joint follow-up Action Plan to the meetings.  You will, of course, get a copy.

  1. Consular protection of European citizens outside the EU

The EU Council of ministers is in the last stages of treating the Commission proposal from 2011 about better consular protection of European citizens outside the EU.  It is hoped that it will be adopted during the present Greek presidency (i.e. before the end of June).  When adopted it is a very important step forward – and we should in ETTW make a pro-active promotion of it.

Ramon Jimenez Fraile has prepared a ETTW Fact Sheet about the initiative (will be sent to you shortly).  Please, use it as actively as possible.

  1. European elections May 22-25:

As agreed at our last Board meeting on February 28 we should all do our utmost to stimulate expats to register for voting and to vote.

See all the rules country by country here:

www.europeancitizensabroad.eu/can-you-vote.html 

Let us also exchange testimonials from expats (in writing and if possible on video),  who recommend everybody to vote.

We will circulate everything we get to you.

  1. The European Commission’s plans for European citizenship in 2015-16:

In our frequent contact with the Commission we have been told that the Commission plans to prepare a new and enlarged European Citizenship report in 2016.  The two previous ones we published in 2010 (with 25 concrete recommendations) and in 2013 (with 12 recommendations).

To prepare the 2016 report the Commission will next spring 2015 organise a wide ranging consultation on obstacles EU citizens still encounter when wishing to exercise their EU rights. And the Commission says that organizations such as ETTW can help feed the debate under Latvian presidency, in cooperation with the presidency.

This is exactly what we should plan and do.

  1. Denmark – and dual citizenship

As you know Denmark is one of the few EU member states still not accepting dual citizenship. It will be changed now. A 112 pages report was published this week in view of making a new law accepting dual citizenship also for Danes. The proposal for the law will be presented very soon, and there is already a large majority in the parliament for the law.

  1. More members in and supporters to ETTW:

Since my last Political Update we have confirmation from expat organisations in Poland, Hungary and Romania that they should like to join forces with ETTW. The same is the case for different Associations of Britons in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal.  We also have positive feedback from a Spanish organization. And we have identified a big Italian expat organization, which might be our future partner, after our previous Italian member organization de facto stopped existing in 2006.

I have been invited to see the leadership of the Austrian expat organization in Vienna on March 18 (when I will be in town for private reasons). And I have received an invitation from the Swiss expat organisation to visit them in Berne to discuss a close cooperation.

Finally, we are developing a close partnership with organizations like European Citizens Abroad and with New Europeans.

Any formal cooperation has, of course, according to our statutes to be confirmed in by our next General Assembly.

I am personally very happy for this strong support for our cause from many countries and many sides.

Let our motto be:  Working Together is Winning Together.

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen[/level-registered-users]