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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- 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:
More are most welcome.
- 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