Newsletter No 13 – June 2017
News from Board and Working Groups
ETTW Board meeting 20.06.2017
The ETTW working group met in May to prepare the Board meeting of June 20. It focused on the revision of the ETTW policy paper and our education priorities.
The group had a thorough reading and discussion of which points in the current policy paper A European Diaspora Policy (adopted in 2014) should be revised. It was agreed that special attention should be given to: updating migration statistics; relating ETTW priorities to the current debate on migration, free movement and European values; young expats’ concerns and developing a more active communication strategy with better use of the social media
The working group also underlined to the Board the following important elements of ETTW’s education priorities:
- support to networks of schools abroad drawing up an inventory
- recognition of grades and qualifications in a coherent European framework
- multicultural teachers’ training
- language teaching via the internet
Our Board met on June 20 to discuss and decide on these and a few other points and to consider the progress of the ETTW i-voting campaign.
The Brexit situation after the British elections had the full attention of Board members. Not least the demand of Britons to keep their rights as EU-citizens, something which is not mentioned in the UK Task Force’s position paper.
Danes Worldwide and Swedes Worldwide raised the question of driver’s licenses for expatriates. According to a new EU directive, EU expatriate citizens can no longer get their licenses renewed from their home country but have to fulfil the requirements of their country of residence. This has proved difficult, especially for expatriates in countries far away from their country of origin.
The Board decided that ETTW will take up the issue with the EU institutions with a view to amend the directive.
The i-voting campaign is moving on. In relation to the crowd funding we are seeking for the campaign, parts of our website have proved to be outdated. IT-experts will look into it and make sure that the site is revamped prior to launching the campaign later this summer.
The Board had a discussion about the ever-increasing hacking problems. Concrete nationwide examples from the Baltic countries were mentioned, and the Board was concerned that this could affect the success of our drive to secure i-voting as a means for expatriates to participate in European and home country elections. Consequently the Board wanted it-security questions to play a more prominent role in our campaign.
Summing up the discussions on the two current ETTW priorities the President suggested that when the i-voting campaign has been successfully launched, ETTW should move forward from i-voting to i-teaching.
Contact: Steen Illeborg. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
News from Member Organisations
More summer schools
The annual Summerschool starts on July 5th for 500 children in the age from 9 up to 18 years. In addition there will this year be two stays of each one week for children in the age from 6 – 9 years accompanied by parents/grandparents. The total number of participants at both types of Summer school is around 700.
Agreement on new Pension Scheme
The Danish Government and its support party, the Danish Peoples´ Party presented on June 20th a new agreement, which aims at increasing the number of years you need to have stayed in Denmark in order to receive full pension benefits. However, special limits – which will hit Danes living abroad for more than 5 years – have been put into the agreement. Danes Worldwide recognizes that the average living age has increased and hence the pension schemes must be adjusted. However, the proportional increase should be the same for Danes in Denmark and Danes living abroad. Danes Worldwide’s recommendations were presented to Minister of Finance, Mr. Kristian Jensen at a meeting on June 27th. See details on www.danes.dk
Conversion of grades from the International Baccalaureate (IB) into the national Danish system:
Danes Worldwide has in cooperation with in particular Danish Students Abroad been fighting the current conversion of grades from the IB system into the national Danish system, as the conversion in our mind was a downgrading. Danes Worldwide has been a part of the working group under the Ministry of Research and Education and contributed with our experience gained thorough intensive contact with our members.
The Ministry presented on June 29th its report and recommendations for a new conversion system. Today an IB student must have passed the IB exam with at least 24 points out of 45 possible points in order to be taken into account at higher education in Denmark. From the academic year 2018/2019 the revised calculation method for conversion of grades offers that the student only needs 18 points out of 45. This has been justified by the facts that 18 points in the IB system corresponds to that the students must pass 6 subject with at least 3 points – in total 18 points – to pass.
Danes Worldwide has for years been fighting for a change in the conversion scheme and considers the new system a major success.
Meeting with the Minister of Employment, Mr. Troels Lund Poulsen
Danes Worldwide met in June with Minister of Employment, Mr. Troels Lund Poulsen. The aim of the meeting was to inform about the vast – untapped – resources among Dane abroad and to inspire the Minister to put focus on this resourceful group on the Danish labour market.
Contact: Anne-Marie Dalgaard. E-mail : email@example.com
The European Latvian Association
The First European Latvian Congress to be held 28-30 July
The European Latvian Association invites Latvians from across the world to take part in the first European Latvian Congress, in which they will be able to share their experiences, knowledge and ideas in creating their cntribution to the nation – the Centenary Road Map. Applications can be made until 22 June at the following site: https://www.registration.lv/eiropas_latviesu_kongress_2017
The European Latvian Congress will take place for the very first time this year, on the Rīga-Stockholm-Rīga ferry. During this symbolic trip Latvians living outside Latvia will meet partners from Latvia in order to put forth ideas and concrete initiatives contributing to the future development of Latvia. Taking place on the ferry, symbolically leaving Latvia and returning with new ideas, friendships and experiences, the Congress echoes the journey of the Latvian diaspora and its strong connection with Latvia.
Kristaps Grasis, Chairman of the European Latvian Association, emphasizes that “We are ready to participate in joint efforts to create a strong and prosperous nation, of which we can be proud both at home and outside its boundaries. We invite everyone to take part in the Congress to share with their experiences and initiatives, and together with partners in Latvia to present these as the diaspora’s gift to the nation on its centenary.”
The first European Latvian Congress will take place from 28 – 30 July, 2017 and is organised by the European Latvian Association (ELA) in collaboration with various partners in Latvia. The Congress is supported by the Social Integration Foundation, the Foreign Ministry and the Latvian Investment and Development Agency. In association with the Ministry of Culture and the World Federation of Free Latvians, the Congress will be supplemented by the World Latvian Conference, which will take place on 30 July in Rīga. The organisers hope that this event will in the long term serve as an anchor in Latvia, which will annually bring together Latvians in Europe to work together on mutual ideas for the development of our nation.
Contact: Elīna Pinto, European Latvian Association E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org /+352 691 981 524
Vlamingen in de Wereld
Global mobility and HR management
On Thursday 26 October 2017, the foundation Flemings in the World (VIW) organises a high-profile HR conference about global mobility, and the complex field of international and expat management.
Leading voices in HR and expatriate management, devoted to implement global mobility within their company, will share their experience and expertise with HR professionals from all around the world.
The conference focuses on the future of HR management and provides its participants with the necessary practical tools, techniques, strategies and guidelines and offers unique networking opportunities.
The conference takes place on the 26th of October 2017, between 12 am and 7 pm, within the Brussels area. Hope to see you there!
Swedish Expats Parliament on 22nd of August
During the yearly Expats Summer Program in Stockholm on August 21-23, First Deputy Speaker Tobias Billström of the Swedish Riksdag will kick off the Swedish Expats Parliament.
During the day there will be three working groups where resolutions are made. The basis for this will be sent to registered participants before the Parliament:
Taxation and welfare issues – Resolutions on, among other things, social insurance and health benefits for expats and taxation with the focus on SINK (special tax paid by expats).
Citizenship issues – Resolutions for simplified passport renewals and passports as identity documents are presented as well as proposals for a special constituency for foreigners and e-voting issues.
Migration and mobility – Issues related to tax money distributed to schools for each student, availability of services for home- comers and expats and problems for returning Swedes are discussed in this group.
Experts and politicians will comment about the proposed resolutions that will guide the Swedes Worldwide for the next two years.
Contact: Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist <email@example.com>
Friuli nel Mundo
A new Fogolar in Latin America
Extending the presence of Friuli nel Mondo (the Italian member of ETTW) continues, with the creation of a new representation, recently opened in the Argentine province of Cordoba, thanks to the establishment of a new Fogolar, which will bring to the Italian emigrants in this far land the values and principles of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region.
13th edition of the Italian Day in Liège
On the Feast of the Italian Republic, the 13th edition of the Italian Day was held beginning of June 2017 in Blégny-Mine, with the active collaboration of Fogolar of Liège, a member of Friuli nel Mondo.
Situated near Liège, Blégny is a symbol of the Italian emigration in Belgium, and houses one of the four largest coal mines in Europe, still visited and recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The event has been distinguished by important presences representing Italy, Belgium and the Friuli nel Mondo (ETTW Member), and other economic and social entities.
It confirmed the presence and importance of the Friulian immigration phenomenon, which in the past Century allowed the development of coal extraction in Belgium, making it one of the driving forces of the Belgian economy, thanks to the sacrifice of those who left their country to work in the mine.
Contact: Giuseppe Rosin. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
News from Partner Organisations and other Sources
The Foundation on European Citizens’ Rights, Involvement and Trust (ECIT)
ECIT Foundation is collecting signatures for its petition “To challenge the loss of EU citizenship of 64 million people and the limitation of the rights of all other European citizens as a result of BREXIT”. ECIT is also supporting the European citizens’ initiative “EU Citizenship for Europeans: United in Diversity in Spite of jus soli and jus sanguinis“ with the same objective of bringing about a re-appraisal of European citizenship to be based not only on nationality of a member state, but also on residence.
- Petition No 0101/2017 asking the European Parliament to prevent the loss of EU citizenship post – BREXIT
On 8 February 2017, ECIT Foundation submitted a petition to the European Parliament arguing against the loss of EU Citizenship for 64 million people as a result of Brexit. On 21 June 2017 Tony Venables, ECIT Founder, presented it to the Members of the Petitions Committee – he asked the European Parliament to use its powers of inquiry and oversight to challenge the assumption that citizens of a country leaving the EU should lose their EU citizenship.
- ECI “EU Citizenship for Europeans: United in Diversity in Spite of jus soli and jus sanguinis”
On 27 March 2017 the ECI “EU Citizenship for Europeans”, informally known as Flock Brexit, has been registered. Its goal is to convince the European Commission and the European Parliament to work on a regulation which would allow UK nationals to keep their EU citizenship regardless of Brexit negotiations. You can support the ECI here!
Priorities of the Estonian Presidency of the Council
Judging from the Estonian Presidency Program there is more emphasis on the free movement of data than on the free movement of citizens. There is however, also a paragraph in the Program that reads as follows:
”The freedom of movement is a pillar of the European Union and must continue to function smoothly The free movement of persons, workers and services in the European Union internal market and the supporting social guarantees must be properly ensured. Estonia focuses on the modernisation of social security coordination rules and successful negotiations on regulating the posting of workers, which is essential in the context of the internal market. In order to ensure quick and easy access to social benefits by people using the freedom of movement, new e-solutions should be introduced.”
In an interview Urmas Paet, Member of the Committee on Budgets, ALDE says that Estonia is looking to promote labour mobility and free movement of person, in particular through the Services Package.
“Estonia sees labour mobility within the EU as an opportunity rather than a threat. When people move across borders, equal opportunities also means fair mobility, i.e. the way they use their right to study, work or stay abroad without being discriminated”, he says:
You can Read or download the program, as well as details for each sectoral council, here.
A new ”EU pension” proposed
European consumers will soon benefit from more choice when saving for retirement. The proposal will provide pension providers with the tools to offer a simple and innovative pan-European personal pension product (PEPP). This new type of voluntary personal pension is designed to give savers more choice when they are putting money aside for old age and provide them with more competitive products.
The new pension product will have the same standard features wherever they are sold in the EU and can be offered by a broad range of providers, such as insurance companies, banks, occupational pension funds, investment firms and asset managers. They will complement existing state-based, occupational and national personal pensions, but not replace or harmonise national personal pension regimes.
The Commission is also recommending that Member States grant the same tax treatment to this product as to similar existing national products to ensure that the new pension fund gets off to a flying start. The new products will also ultimately bolster the Commission’s plan for a Capital Markets Union by helping to channel more savings to long-term investments in the EU.
The European Commission says it is hoped the EU pension will encourage workers, particularly those who exploit the EU’s freedom of movement, to save during their lifetimes. Only 27% of Europeans aged between 25 and 59 have enrolled themselves in a pension product.
It is currently possible for EU nationals to be part of state pension schemes in multiple countries, as they move around. The final payout is then determined by how long a saver was in a country, and their contributions.
The EU-branded product will allow workers moving from country to country to save seamlessly into one pot.
Further reading: Commission launches a new pan-European personal pensions label to help consumers save for retirement (Pressrelease of June, 29)
Visa-free travel for Ukrainians
As of June 11, barriers between the people of Ukraine and the people of the European Union were brought down. “No more visa for short trips between our countries,” said High Representative Federica Mogherini on the occasion of the entry into force of the visa liberalisation agreement between the EU and Ukraine.
Approved by the Council in May, the agreement provides for visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports travelling to the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes, but not to work. The exemption applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
EU top lawyer argues for right of residency for non-EU citizens
An advocate general for the European Court of Justice has argued that non-EU citizens ought to have the right to reside in an EU country if their partners are naturalized citizens in that country.
The case revolves around Toufik Lounes, an Algerian citizen who overstayed his visa in the United Kingdom and in 2014 married a Spanish national who became a naturalized British citizen. Lounes was later denied a residence card and informed that because his wife had taken on British citizenship, she was no longer a “European Economic Area national,” meaning that she no longer enjoyed the rights of non-British EU citizens. These include claiming a residence card for a non-EU family member.
But Yves Bot, the advocate general, found that EU countries “must permit EU citizens … to move and reside within their territory with their spouse and, possibly, certain members of their family who are not EU citizens.”
Source: Politico, Author: SAIM SAEED 30.05.17
Citizens’ rights: The EU and UK opening positions reveal big disagreements on Brexit
The Institute for Government has published a table comparing the EU Commission and the UK Government’s proposed frameworks for protecting the status and rights of non-UK EU citizens post-Brexit.
The table, available here, reveals the inferior protection offered by the UK’s draft, particularly in relation to the (undisclosed) cut-off date; to rights of family members; to limits on freedom of movement entailed by the limitations of ‘settled’ status; and, crucially, in terms of legal enforcement (namely, the UK government’s rejection of any ECJ jurisdiction).
Source: New Europeans.net. 30.06.17 Author: Dr Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler, Associate Professor in International Refugee Law at the University of Reading School of Law, where he is a member of the Global Law at Reading (GLAR) research group (specialising in human rights, international humanitarian law and international refugee law).
|Statistics of EU Nationals and of EU Country-Background living
In Australia, Canada, United States
(Based on 2011> Censuses and compiled by ETTW in June 2017)
|Australia (Of Background)||Canada (Citizens)||Canada (Of Background)||U.S.A.
|Offshore EU Waters worldwide||79,700**||—||—||—||—||—||79,700|
**Most have work is on a three-week contract basis mainly in Dutch, Norwgian and/or Spanish waters on oil/gas rigs and half of the number is on and the other half are off but there is a one-to-two week overlapping. Therefore, it is safer to list all. The majority are in French waters (which has the largest water surface area) round the world, ie, Atlantic, Pacific, etc.
-Periodical and seasonal holidaymakers are not included.
28-30 July: The First European Latvian Congress, Stockholm – Riga
18-20 August: 95e Congrès des Suisses de l’étranger, Bâle, Switzerland
21-23 August: Swedes Worldwide Summer Program with Swedish Expatriate Parliament, Stockholm
18-20 October: Council of Maltese Living Abroad Annual meeting in Valletta, Malta
Contributions to ETTW News Service from Member organisations and Partners are welcome to the ETTW News Editor: Ylva Tivéus email@example.com
Next edition: September 2017