Newsletter No 11 – January 2017

 News from Board and Working Groups 

Report from the ETTW Board Meeting and General Assembly 

January 17, 2017. 

New President for ETTW elected 

On 17th January 2017, the General Assembly of The Europeans Throughout The World (ETTW) unanimously elected its acting president for nearly a year, Dr Raymond Christian XERRI. 

Born in the United States of Maltese parents he has lived, studied, worked and/or visited nearly a hundred countries and is thus a walking example of Europeans living abroad.

Raymond joined ETTW in 2013 representing the Council for Maltese Living Abroad (CMLA). Since 2012 he occupies the post of Director for Maltese Living Abroad within the Directorate-General for Political, European Union Affairs and Maltese Abroad in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Malta. Since 2013 he occupied one of the posts of Vice-President of ETTW.

A European Expat Convention 

The planning for organizing a European Expat Convention in 2018 in Malta are progressing. The main interlocutor of ETTW is the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). Two -three preparatory conferences/seminars are foreseen to be scheduled in advance of the convention in interested countries.

ECJ rulings on free movement 

ETTW has participated in an expert panel for research on EU Court of Justice and national court expats comprised rulings on free movement of citizens. The panel works with the Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna for the European Commission. A users’ handbook/inventory of courts’ rulings on barriers to free movement will be the result of the research. 2

The ETTW i-voting campaign 

After the successful conference on internet voting organized by the ETTW in collaboration with MEP Monica Macovei on June 29, more input and ideas will be gathered to pursue the implementation of this voting system in as many EU member states as possible before the European elections in 2019.

The next steps should be to set up an “i-voting caravan’’ – a series of similar conferences or seminars in EU member states where support for such voting systems already exists

The Board agreed that the campaign should be a key project of ETTW which would merit extraordinary crowd funding.

The EUROSTAT Conference “More Agile Social Statistics” 

There is an urgent need for accurate and reliable statistics on migration and free movement, and multisource and multidiscipline statistics is the way forward.

The Board agreed that ETTW and its member organizations follow the implementation of these recommendations closely and that eventually statistical offices in member states should be contacted in order to promote the conclusions of the conference that took place in Luxembourg, 28-30 November 2016.

Contact: Steen Illeborg; steen.illeborg@gmail.com

The ETTW education project 

Inventory of dedicated schools/education services for expats; Recognition of scholar grades.

Member organizations will be asked to assess the problem of recognition of scholar grades and the supply of education services for expats in their countries and communicate the results to ETTW by the end of February. Responses to be sent to ETTW and to the expert, Pierre Mairesse, mail address pierre.mairesse1@gmail.com

Reports from ETTW Working Groups 

Next Working Group meeting is scheduled for February 23 in Brussels. Main points to be discussed are the I-voting campaign and Preparations for the European Expat Convention in Malta in 2018.

Contact: Contact: Steen Illeborg; steen.illeborg@gmail.com 

 

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News from Member Organisations 

European Congress of Latvians 28-30 July 2017 

First European Congress: Riga-Stockholm-Riga 

In preparation of the Centenary of Latvia and with a view to strengthening civic activism of Latvian expatriates in Europe, fostering return transfer of knowledge as well as consolidating the expatriates’ links with Latvia, the European Latvian Association will hold the first European Congress of Latvians (ECL) in July 2017.

The Congress will take place on 28-30 July 2017. It will open and close in Riga, but the main working programme will be held on a ferry Riga-Stockholm-Riga. An informal workshop will take place in Stockholm.

Event and manifestation 

The European Congress of Latvians (ECL) is both an event and a manifestation. ECL thus serves as a forum for: common voice: an inclusive format of representation for the Latvian expatriates, common contribution: the congress end-paper – “The Centenary Roadmap for Latvia” – will feature a set of good practices sourced in the international experience of expatriates and aimed at outlining and supporting the path forward for Latvia in a range of policy areas; common activism: a framework for informal bonding and networking, as well as for open exchange on topical issues.

Participation at ECL is open and inclusive. It will gather, without restrictions of age, nationality or beliefs, first and foremost Latvian expatriates, but, alongside, also the CSOs, entrepreneurs, think-tanks, media, local and national authorities of Latvia interested in cooperation with Latvian expatriates and in their perspective on societal, economic, cultural and intellectual issues with regard to Latvia. The working language will be Latvian.

Contact: Elīna Pinto; ela@latviesi.com   Tel: +352 691 981 4

Finland Society – Suomi-Seura 

2017 – a year of jubilee celebrations in Finland 

The Finnish Expatriate Parliament is preparing for its 9th Assembly 16-17 June 2017 at the University of Helsinki (Senate Square). This 20 year Jubilee session celebrates the establishment of the Finnish Expats Parliament 1997 and the Finland Society that turns 90 in 2017. As if this wasn’t enough, this is also the year when Finns in and outside Finland are brought together by the 100th anniversary of the country’s independence.

Besides invited guests and the media, the FEP Jubilee session is gathering more youth among its expected 200 representatives and observers from expatriate Finnish orgnisations, of which there are today 514 in 39countries. By submitting written motions, FEP organisations can participate even without being present in Helsinki.

The program includes among other things vintage seminars on senior issues and on Finland schools/Suomi-koulu abroad and an City Hall evening reception with Sibelius music and the award ceremony of Finland Society’s ‘Expatriate Finn of Year 2017. On June 15, an unprecedented ‘Finland 100 Worldwide’ public evening concert brings together expatriate Finnish music and artists at Helsinki Music Centre (https://www.musiikkitalo.fi/en/content/suomi-100-maailmalla-konsertti, The concert is one of more than a hundred events worldwide, by expatriate Finns under the project Finland 100 Worldwide (http://suomi-seura.fi/suomi100maailmalla/en/homepage/).

On the political agenda 

There are some important recurrent issues for Finnish expats. The FEP Presidium (regional representatives) are for example pursuing the support of language training and culture for expat children and youth and the global access to Finnish state broadcasting company programs for its subscribers plus better availability of Finnish-language programs. It took over 15 years to see the present Government draft bill on the right to expat Finns and nationals abroad to use postal voting in national elections (to be applied as of April 2019 parliament elections).

The ‘Government Policy on Expatriate Finns for 2017-2021’ was updated in 2016 after consultation with the FEP and Finland Society and is due for Government adoption soon. There is also a resolution in the pipeline on safeguarding the activities of the FEP by bringing this recognized but not formalised parliamentary forum under law. Widespread political acceptance to solidify the FEP will be clearer still, should it be included in the Government Policy, said FEP Speaker Mr Jarmo Virmavirta.

Contact: Sini Castrén; sini.castren@suomi-seura.fi 

Swedes Worldwide 

Summer Program and Expat Parliament – August, 21-23 

Swedes Worldwide is organizing a number of seminars about International Studies at Swedish universities to encourage more Swedish students to study abroad. (The number of Swedish students abroad has decreased during the last years). The next seminar will be at Växjö University in April 2017.

The summer program will take place in Stockholm on August 21-23. This year we will hold the sixth Expat Parliament, followed by the annual assembly and the presentation of the award to the International Swede of the year 2017. More information on www.sviv.se. All partners in ETTW are most welcome to attend.

Contact: Karin Ehnbom –Palmquist; karin@sviv.se 

Stichting Vlamingen in de Wereld 

Regional voting system 

The foundation Flemings in the World (VIW) has long been striving for the effective recognition of Belgians across the world by providing them with democratic participation into Belgium’s political process. This venture has been partly realised, since our fellow countrymen have been granted the right to take part in the Belgian federal elections.

However, this decision has never been extended to the elections for regions and municipalities. Therefore, the Flemings living abroad cannot partake in the election of their Flemish Parliament.

Meanwhile, the federal government approved a bill contesting this outdated arrangement. For as long as this bill has not been passed by parliament, VIW will insist on swift action in this matter.

From the moment the bill becomes law, VIW will focus on simplifying the voting system abroad. The goal of this bill does not only extend to the expansion of suffrage. The administrative problems associated with voting abroad, for example because of voting ballots arriving late, did not go past unnoticed.

VIW has for a long while advocated for the implementation of internet voting. 6

Promotion of ‘Flemings in the World’ (VIW) by public services 

A correct and adequate service aimed at fellow countrymen who are living abroad, starts with data collection. At the moment, this data collection occurs on a voluntary level because of the privacy law. This turns the expansion and maintenance of an up-to-date database into a long-term and ongoing effort.

VIW realises the great potential of a collaboration with public services of cities and municipalities, where future expats seek information about their impending emigration. Ideally, public services would refer future emigrants to VIW and would assist VIW in collecting data about fellow countrymen who are living abroad. In order to realise this enterprise, new political initiatives are being taken. Contact: Koen Van der Schaeghe; koen.vanderschaeghe@viw.be

 

Conselheiro das Comunidades Portuguesas

We are Portuguese too

A large group of Portuguese people living abroad have collected the required number of signatures (4.000) to present a petition at the Portuguese Parliament: “Também somos portugueses” – “We are Portuguese too”

Goal of the petition:

  • Automatic registration in the electors list (for the foreign constituencies) at the time of the inscription in a Consulate
  • For Portuguese people living abroad, possibility to be recorded in the electors list by mail or internet
  • Electronic vote’s implementation

The petition has to be debated in the next 60 days.

ENTE FRIULI NEL MONDO

Ente Friuli nel Mondo is finalizing the Program for its actions and activities for the year 2017, depending on the budget allowed by the Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

At this moment, however, we can already give notice of a recurring action, already programmed for 2017 from 20 July to 11 August in the town of Gemona del Friuli, and concerning the LAB (International Communication Laboratory).

LAB 2017 – Gemona del Friuli

The LAB (International Communication Laboratory) is a Summer School, an upper course of Italian language and culture and a space of creative inventions.

Ente Friuli nel Mondo is one of the institutions supporting this initiative (together with Universities, the Region, other Institutions and Companies).

The Laboratory has four integrated parts:

  • a Section of linguistic and cultural updte a Section of creativity in the afternoon workshops
  • a Section of international study conferences
  • a Section of personal work time with newspaper library, media library and the Cineteca del Friuli (films).

The course planned for 2017 will be entitled “(S)confinare, what separates us and what unites us”,

Graduates, researchers, students and artists interested in Italian culture and society can participate in the workshop .A good knowledge of Italian is needed.

For more information: www.labonline.it    e-mail: Piero DeMarchi – segreteria@labonline.it

 

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News from Partner Organisations and other Sources

At least 60,000 Dutch expats register to vote in March Election

At least 60,000 Dutch nationals abroad have signed up to vote in the March 15 general election and the final total is expected to be even higher, the AD said. At the last election in 2012, nearly 50,000 expats registered to vote, and almost 36,000 sent back their ballot papers. Some 500,000 Dutch nationals live abroad. The total number of expat votes will be published next week. The current procedure to sign up is both complicated and time consuming. But after the March 15 vote, expats will only have to register once to be eligible to vote in every election.

At the last general election, the right-wing Liberal VVD took 33% of the expat vote, followed by D66 on almost 21%. Labour was third with 14.5%. This year, D66 parliamentary hopeful Eelco Keij is hoping to win enough expat support to win a seat as an MP. Keij, a former expat who is 39th on the party’s list, needs 16,000 votes to automatically qualify.

Read more at DutchNews.nl: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/02/at-least-60000-dutch-expats-register-to-vote-in-march/

Global Lithuanian Leaders (GLL) Opinion on E-voting: Issue of Key Importance to Lithuanians around the World

GLL director Kotryna Stankute- Jasčemskienė shares insights about the importance of e-voting to strengthen e-democracy and involve more global Lithuanians in government processes. The Internet, if used with democratic intent and spirit can and will bring people closer to their governments.

The State’s ability to involve the younger generation and Lithuanians around the world in the country’s future development is an essential condition for the development of a modern, attractive and competitive Lithuania, she says. We live in a smart era of technology, where the vast majority of our citizens use e-mail and e-banking. Electronic voting would be a natural step in this important process of improving the efficiency of the state. A modern electoral system would help to create a more general, global Lithuania with active citizens wherever they are.

There are over 600 thousand Lithuanians living abroad, and of these, only 19 thousand vote in elections – probably because it’s just uncomfortable. The GLL Director believes that modern voting system would involve more citizens in the development of Lithuania. A lot has been written and discussed around this issue. You just need the political will and a trusted team of specialists to implement the system in order to eliminate the risks, taking into account the experience of other countries who have already introduced e-voting.

Full article in Lithuanian can be found here.

 

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BREXIT NEWS

‘Green card’ concept for post-Brexit EU Nationals wins FT accolade

The Financial Times (FT) has published an article by New Europeans founder and CEO Roger Casale, calling for a new category of European citizenship, a ‘green card’ system conferring rights on EU Nationals in the UK and British nationals based abroad.

The article has been named as a prize-winner in the Future of Britain competition run by the FT to encourage new thinking about Britain after Brexit. The article argues that a new class of European Citizenship should not be based, as at present, on holding the nationality of an EU member state but rather on legal residency.

A Europe-wide ‘green card’ for UK citizens in the EU would guarantee their right to reside and work. All qualifying third country nationals in the EU would be entitled to apply for green card status. Parallel arrangements would be put in place for EU citizens legally resident in the UK.

Roger Casale attended an awards ceremony on February 8th as the author of one of five articles judged to be joint winners of the FT’s Future of Britain competition.

I think there is a real chance of getting some traction on the idea and hope EETW members will like it. I am planning a series of meetings in European capitals to promote the idea, says Roger Casale. In brief I argue for a European Green Card conferring EU citizenship rights on third country nationals (eg the Brits post Brexit but also migrants, refugees and others) based on legal residence rather than just nationality. It could be used to fast-track residency applications for EU citizens in the UK in the future if the UK does in fact leave the EU

The FT article can be viewed here: ‘Green card’ concept wins FT accolade 

Government starts U-Turn on RightToStay

In a significant development on the eve of the vote on clauses in the European Union (Notice of Withdrawal) Bill to protect EU citizens, the Government has for the first time agreed to allow the rights of EU citizens in the UK to be guaranteed unilaterally by Act of Parliament.

The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd MP has written to MPs to say that the rights of EU citizens in the UK cannot be taken away without parliamentary approval. This is because the Government intends to include the existing rights of EU Citizens in the Great Repeal Bill to be laid before parliament following the Queen’s Speech in May.

So the rights of EU citizens will be guaranteed through the Great Repeal Bill which will incorporate EU legislation into UK law. This is a very significant concession if confirmed. We are yet to see the detail.

New Europeans are holding a mass lobby of parliament for EU citizens’ rights on 20th February in the House of Commons. Over 3,000 EU citizens will come to visit their MPs and demand the right to remain in the UK with all their rights.

You will see from the links below that EU citizens in the UK and EU citizens in the EU are asked to produce “Alternative White Papers” on what should happen next for EU citizens in the UK and UK Citizens in the EU. They have produced excellent documents which can be widely shared through EETW networks via this link:

https://neweuropeans.net/parliamentary-briefing-eu-citizens-uk-and-uk-citizens-living-eu

EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU have joined forces to defend our rights and it would be much appreciated if any EETW member could join New Europeans, either as an individual or organisation (email Roger Casale directly please about the latter).

You can join New Europeans (and receive regular updates) here

Contact: Roger Casale, roger.casale@neweuropeans.net

 

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Interesting Reading

The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union

Presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister by Command of Her Majesty February 2017

On 17 January 2017 the Prime Minister set out the 12 principles which will guide the Government in fulfilling the democratic will of the people of the UK. Of interest for ETTW is Principle nr 6 (extract from the report):

6. Securing rights for EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU

We want to secure the status of EU citizens who are already living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in the other Member States, as early as we can.

6.2 Around 2.8 million EU nationals16 were estimated to be resident in the UK, many of whom originate from Poland. It is estimated that around 1 million UK nationals are long-term residents of other EU countries, including around 300,000 in Spain. France and Germany also host large numbers of British citizens. 6.2 While we are a member of the EU, the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU remain unchanged. As provided for in both the EU Free Movement Directive (Article 16 of 2004/38/EC) and in UK law, those who have lived continuously and lawfully in a country for at least five years automatically have a permanent right to reside. We recognise the contribution EU nationals have made to our economy and communities.

6.2 While we are a member of the EU, the rights of EU nationals living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU remain unchanged. As provided for in both the EU Free Movement Directive (Article 16 of 2004/38/EC) and in UK law, those who have lived continuously and lawfully in a country for at least five years automatically have a permanent right to reside. We recognise the contribution EU nationals have made to our economy and communities.

6.3 Securing the status of, and providing certainty to, EU nationals already in the UK and to UK nationals in the EU is one of this Government’s early priorities for the forthcoming negotiations. To this end, we have engaged a range of stakeholders, including expatriate groups, to ensure we understand the priorities of UK nationals living in EU countries. This is part of our preparations for a smooth and orderly withdrawal and we will continue to work closely with a range of organisations and individuals to achieve this. For example, we recognise the priority placed on easy access to healthcare by UK nationals living in the EU. We are also engaging closely with EU Member States, businesses and other organisations to ensure that we have a thorough understanding of issues concerning the status of EU nationals in the UK

6.4 The Government would have liked to resolve this issue ahead of the formal negotiations. And although many EU Member States favour such an agreement, this has not proven possible. The UK remains ready to give people the certainty they want and reach a reciprocal deal with our European partners at the earliest opportunity. It is the right and fair thing to do.

21 Excludes the Republic of Ireland. Luxembourg not included as data is not available. 22 ‘Population of the UK by Country of Birth and Nationality’, ONS, August 2016.

More info: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/589191/The_United_Kingdoms_exit_from_and_partnership_with_the_EU_Web.pdf

 

EU Citizenship Report 2017 – Commission promotes rights, values and democracy

The European Commission has published its third EU Citizenship Report, presenting actions to ensure citizens can fully enjoy their rights when working, traveling, studying or participating in elections.

Europeans are more than ever aware of their status as citizens of the Union and the proportion of Europeans wanting to know more about their rights continues to increase. Over 80 % of Europeans cherish, in particular, the right to free movement that allows them to live, work, study and do business anywhere in the EU (December 2016 Eurobarometer). However, a lack of awareness means EU citizens do not fully exercise their right to vote in European and local elections and many are unaware of the right to consular protection. The 2017 EU Citizenship Report sets out the Commission’s priorities in further raising awareness of these rights and making them easier to use in practice.

The 2017 edition covers:

Promoting EU citizenship rights and EU common values

  • Making it easier for citizens to know their EU rights
  • Strengthening European common values

Promoting and enhancing citizens’ participation in the democratic life of the EU

  • Enhancing citizens’ engagement in the EU democratic process
  • Enhancing transparency – towards a more democratic Union
  • Access to political information across borders
  • Increasing participation of mobile EU citizens in political life.

Simplifying daily life for EU citizens

  • Cutting red tape and informing citizens
  • Informing and assisting EU citizens on the move
  • Cutting red tape on citizens’ public documents
  • Cutting red tape in family law
  • Simplifying travel, living and working across the EU for citizens
  • Increasing opportunities for students, trainees, teachers and other workers
  • Further simplifying living and travelling in the EU

Strengthening security and promoting equality

  • Tackling security threats and protecting citizens
  • Tackling security threats in an area of justice and fundamental rights based on mutual trust. Protecting EU citizens abroad
  • Protecting all citizens and promoting equality and non-discrimination
  • Protecting and supporting victims and witnesses
  • Promoting equality and non-discrimination

 

For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=40723

http://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/document.cfm?doc_id=40722

As always, EU reports are published in all 23 official languages of the Union.

 

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Upcoming Events

Rubrik

16-17 June: Finnish Expat Parliament and Jubilee celebrations, Helsinki

28-30 July: European Congress of Latvians 2017, Riga-Stockholm-Riga

20 July to 11 August: The LAB (International Communication Laboratory), Gemona del Friuli, Italy

21-23 August: The summer programme and Expats Parliament, Stockholm, Sweden

 

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Contributions to ETTW News Service from Member organisations and Partners are welcome to the ETTW News Editor:

Ylva Tivéus: ylva@tiveus.eu

Next edition: April 24 with deadline for contributions April 18 eob.