Newsletter No 3 – November 2015
ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND ETTW
Sweden – Two contributions from Swedes Worldwide – member of ETTW
EU Seminar; Free movement within EU
Swedes Worldwide is arranging a breakfast seminar about free movement within the EU on December 8th, in collaboration with the EU-Delegation in Stockholm.
The seminar will take place at Europahuset where we will have a panel of experts who will give advice and tips for those who are considering moving to another EU country. What are their rights and obligations in the new country?
What can they expect? The target group of the event are students, workers and pensioners.
We will have material such as brochures and books tabled during the seminar, which anyone who is interested can take with them.
At the end of the day, the attendants get the opportunity to participate and can discuss and ask questions to the panel.
The group of home comers work to clarify the difficulties that expatriates often face when returning to Sweden. They illuminate and influence the attitudes that returning Swedes encounter and facilitate the returning Swedes to enter the Swedish labour market.
The group of our home comers occasionally arrange mingle-meetings where home comers get the chance to meet other home comers, exchange experiences, establish contacts and socialize and have a good time with other people with similar background of living and working abroad.
This year there will be two occasions for home comers to mingle, one that will take place in Stockholm and one in Gothenburg.
Stockholm: November 11th at Restaurang Himlen – top of the building on Götgatan 78. From 17:00pm.
Gothenburg: November 12th at Byns Bistro Tredje Långgatan 13. From 18:00pm.
Contact for both events:
Mrs. Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist, secretary-general of Swedes Worldwide
Votes for Expats
Emigrant Vote Debate Continues in Ireland ahead of 2016 election Ireland, one of the few EU member states to almost completely disenfranchise its citizens abroad, continues to debate long overdue reform that would extend the vote to expats.
A country with a long history of emigration, the issue has resurfaced in the context of recent economic crisis and a mass exodus of young citizens: since 2008, over a quarter of a million people have emigrated (from a population of 4.5m), the vast majority of their 20s. Many of these recent emigrants have been advocating for change: youth organisation “We’re Coming Back” emphasised the intention to return and desire to have a vote and a say in the democratic process in the meantime.
The issue seemed to come to a head in May, as the world watched Ireland become the first country to legalise same-sex marriage (now, fittingly, just ‘marriage’) by public referendum. Thousands of young expats, furious that they were denied a vote from abroad, skirted a technical loophole and flew 1000s of kilometres ‘home to vote’. The #hometovote campaign was covered by the Guardian and other international media, and is now inscribed on the walls of Twitter’s California HQ as an example of mass social media mobilisation.
The political response has been poor, however: Government MPs widely welcomed, supported and congratulated those travelling great distances at great expense just to cast a ballot, but dragged their heels on legislative reform that would allow them to vote from abroad. Though an emigrant vote has been supported by the European Commission, European Parliament, the major Irish opposition parties, the current Government parties while they were in opposition, and large parts of the population as a whole (according to polls), politicians still cannot find consensus on the specifics: given the huge number of Irish passport holders outside the state, would a time limit be introduced? Would a certain number of seats in Parliament be reserved for those abroad? How much would it cost?
At a debate in the Irish Parliament last week, Government MPs essentially stated that, though they agreed with an overseas vote in principle, more “research” needed to be done, despite the decades of available evidence. The can has thus been kicked until after next year’s national elections – when our organisation spoke to Prime Minister Enda Kenny in Brussels, he conceded that he saw it as an “issue for the next Government”. Irish citizens abroad must wait, then, and keep up the pressure.
Mr. Conor O’Neill – Co-founder, We’re Coming Back
Stati Generali of Expats in the Friuli Region- member of ETTW
On 16 and 17 October 2015 took place in Trieste, in the Northern part of Italy, the “Stati Generali” of the expatriates of the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the various associations recognized by FVG Region than operate outside the territory of the Region, in Italy and abroad.
Friuli nel Mondo, member of ETTW, the most important regional association of Italian expatriates, with more than 150 local circles called “Fogolars Furlans”, present in more than 100 Countries and with 22.000 individual members, was present with twenty delegates coming from the most important circles of the 5 continents.
The Congress, after a message from the President of the Region Debora Serracchiani, discussed and focused in 4 working groups the most important items to be adopted or followed in the future policy of the region towards its expatriates.
Mr. Christian Canciani, secretary-general of Friuli nel Mondo,
Activities of the Flemish Expat Organisation ViW – member of ETTW
Mobility & People Manager’s Conference 2015
This autumn (November 20) VIW is co-organizer of the Mobility & People Manager’s Conference 2015.
The conference gives answers regarding legislation, integration and HR-management for inpats, expats and/or transpats ?
It should help you to face and take up the challenges towards your multicultural workforces !
Latest legislation – knowledge, skills and best practices – latest trends and an eye on the future.
In accordance with the company global strategy, HR management should tend to achieve these objectives by implementing one or more of the following processes:
- Recruitment of new staff with international experience, motivate to embrace an international career or to seize the opportunity to work abroad.
- Assessing current employees’ skills for international missions or positions, and providing them with training and experience in order to match the requested specifications for an international career.
- Creating a culture that stimulates social networking and collaboration and implementing a strategy for social learning.
More info: www.mpmc.be
Information session about emigrating to the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
On Friday December, 11, Vlamingen in de Wereld organizes an information session about emigrating to the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The decision to emigrate is not easy and a good preparation is necessary.
This session gives you the opportunity to establish contacts with a large number of experts who can assist you in preparing for, but also during your emigration.
On the emigration seminar you will be provided with information on the following topics:
- Requesting and obtaining a visa and work permit
- International moving
- How to customize in your new home country
- Taxes in the new country
- Insurance in the new country
- What with the education for the children
- How is social security settled in your new home country
Contact: Mr. Koen van der Schaeghe, director of ViW
More info: www.viw.be
Council of the Portuguese Communities
Created by Law no. 66-A/2007, 11 December, the Council of the Portuguese Communities (Conselho das Comunidades Portuguesas) is the advisory body to Government policies on emigration and Portuguese communities abroad.
The CCP is composed of 80 members elected by universal, direct and secret ballot of the voters listed in the electoral rolls of the Portuguese Parliament. The members’ mandate has a duration of four years.
The Council normally meets in plenary meetings every two years and extraordinarily whenever particularly relevant reasons require it.
On 6 September 2015, the Portuguese community registered in the electoral constituency of Belgium elected Pedro Rupio as its representative to the Council of the Portuguese Communities.
It is CCP competence to:
- Produce information and express opinions by its own initiative, on all matters concerning Portuguese citizens living abroad and the development of the Portuguese presence in the world, and addressing them to the member of the Government responsible for emigration and the Portuguese communities;
- Formulate proposals and recommendations on the objectives and principles of emigration policy;
- By request of the Government or Parliament, prepare advisory reports on draft laws and bills and other legislative and administrative acts, as well as on international agreements and EU norms regarding the Portuguese communities living abroad.
Mr. Pedro Rupio, representative of the Portuguese Communities in Belgium
The Lithuanian World Community
The Lithuanian World Community (LWC) is a non-governmental and non-profit organization established in 1949 that unifies Lithuanian communities abroad. The Constitution of the Lithuanian World Community declares that it consists of all Lithuanians living abroad and it is active in 42 countries, including the representation in Lithuania. The LWC‘s highest body is its Seimas which gathers every three years to adopt and review its strategy and programs and to elect its Board members. The last assembly was held in Vilnius, Lithuania in July where Ms. Dalia Henke was elected its President.
The objectives of the Lithuanian World Community have been set many years ago which are to preserve the Lithuanian identity of those living outside of Lithuania, to develop and maintain the links with their homeland, and to foster the Lithuanian community feeling and readiness to act in the common interest. LWC believes that every country, however small, is a part of a miraculous masterpiece, and its loss would alter the entire art piece.
The two most important issues that currently occupies the LWC:
- A change in Lithuania‘s citizenship law where Lithuania would permit the retention of Lithuanian citizenship when a person becomes a citizen of a foreign country where he lives, and
- The establishment of voting via internet.
Mrs. Vida Bandis, LWC representative in Lithuania
Report from Mission Laïque Francaise – member of ETTW
The large French education network abroad consists of a total of 340 000 pupils, two-thirds of which are foreigners, receiving schooling in 494 schools in 136 countries. The Mission laïque française (Mlf), a longstanding player within the French education network abroad, created in 1902 and approved by the State in 1907, today consists of 119 schools providing schooling to more than 54 000 pupils in 41 countries.
The Mlf is a non-profit association. It carries out a public service mission committed to educating young French nationals worldwide, and providing schooling to young non-French nationals whose families wish for them to be educated in French language and culture. It is contractually bound with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development (MAEDI), the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR) and the Agency for the French education system abroad (AEFE).
- The Mlf creates and runs primary schools, middle schools and secondary schools worldwide. It offers skills and services in educational engineering to companies and schools who wish to become affiliated to its network. It creates educational partnerships, in particular on behalf of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development which entrusts it with creating schools, sometimes within a very short time frame, due to its ability to react swiftly and its flexibility in terms of management.
- secularity, multilingulism and multiculturalism
Within its school network, the Mlf hosts and brings together children of all origins and cultures. Orientated around secularity, it has set up an education system where two cultures meet, reinforced by the teaching of three languages. Educated in French, pupils learn the language of their host country right from nursery school age while also acquiring a third language for international communication, generally English. Apart from working towards academic excellence and the pupils’ individual development, the Mlf strives to instill in them the exercise of free judgment, respect for others, understanding heritage and history and open-mindedness to the world in its diversity.
Each year, the Mission laïque française gathers its school leaders, teaching staff, as well as all its partners, for a three-day symposium centered on a specific theme. The next symposium will take place in Casablanca, Morrocco, in May 2016, and will focus on “education and citizenship”.
Twitter : @mlfmonde and @Mlfpedagogie
Facebook : Mission laïque française – officiel
Activities by ROMBEL – member of ETTW
ROMBEL – Romanians in Belgium – 2015 autumn’s update.
RomBel ( www.rombel.org ) is the largest Romanians community in Belgium, with over 10,000 internet members, acting since 2002 as main information channel for Romanian’s expats in Belgium.
Sept – Oct 2015 activities:
- 26th Sept 2015 – Rombel’s dialogues – Book launch (Viata in Belj),
Romanian diaspora repatriation , film launch (“Just with the ID in Paris”- presented by Mircea Diaconu”.
- 7, 8 Oct 2015 – Bruxells, 9 Oct – Antwerpen – 2014 – 1989 – 2014 –
Between revolution and Miracle – film launch (Ceausescu’s death) and book release.
Nov- Dec 2016 activities:
- Children left behind – RomBel’s campaign to raise awareness of over 83.000 children left behing in Romania by parents working abroad.
- Shoebox 2015 – Rombel’s campaign on helping children through gifts in shoebox
- 12 Nov 2016 – Literary evening : Panait Istrati, writer without frontiers.
- 29 Nov 2016 – Rombel’s DIALOG will have special guests from cultural area (location: Marie Haps, Place Luxembourg)
- 30 November 2015 – November’s sitting evening – violin concert & lecture
Mr. Dorin Fleseriu, president of ROMBEL,
Report from European Latvian Association – member of ETTW
ELA is currently in a process of transition due to the change in its leadership. The general assembly of ELA met in Dublin on 19-20 September and elected the following new members to the ELA board:
– Kristaps Grasis (Germany), the president;
– Maris Pulis (the UK), the vice-president and education councillor;
– Ilze Zilgalve (Belgium), representative to the ETTW;
– Elina Pinto (Luxembourg), political councillor;
– Inguna Grietina (Ireland), culture councillor
– Maira Eriksone (Sweden).
The new board is currently assessing ELA’s strategic priorities for the next two years.
Early October, the new ELA president and his team participated in the annual general assembly of the World Association of Free Latvians (the global umbrella organisation of Latvian diaspora) as well as paid courtesy visit to a series of institutional counterparts.
ELA was also represented at a regional (Benelux, France and Germany) seminar of Latvian diaspora organisations focussing on common challenges and best practices in their work and collaboration.
The current operational focus is on the conclusion of the annual project of budgetary support to Latvian diaspora weekend schools in Europe.
Mr. Kristaps Grasis, president of ELA,
Report from the British diaspora in Portugal:
A high percentage of the British in Portugal are concentrated in the south of the country where the image of golf-playing, gin-swilling tax exiles as portrayed by the British press is far from reality.
Many are deeply involved in the communities in which they live and, despite the frustrations of bureaucracy, are committed to a range of welfare and campaigning issues.
Foreign residents in Portugal are prevented from voting for an MP in the Lisbon Assembly, hence the political pressure at local level is more keenly felt at town halls which as a result have become more responsive.
A local petition that turned international to deny building development on 350 hectares of protected seaside farmland gathered 35,000 signatories, a record in Portugal for an environmental issue. Local welfare issues concerning cats and dogs, anti-bullfighting, animal treatment generally and support of the local lynx breeding programme all have been well supported for engaged foreign residents as have welfare issued for locals struggling with disability, illness or poverty.
Broader EC/UK issues over voting rights, the UK’s Winter Fuel Payment fiddle and the forthcoming UK referendum on EC membership are keenly followed as well as local activity including fundraising for schools, for fire service and hospital equipment, for food banks, the list is a long one and Portugal’s local government has started to recognise the importance of the foreign community whose role during these years of austerity has become especially welcomed and encouraged.
Mr. Paul Rees, editor of Algarve Daily News
LibDems in Brussels and the fight for voting right in the coming UK referendum
Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats
The Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats (BELD) are the local branch of the UK Lib Dems in Brussels and beyond. Our small secretariat keeps our active community of members up to date with party developments, as well as key UK and EU political news that might affect them.
Right now, our top priority is to encourage the 2.2.mn expat Brits living in Europe (or those who are eligible) to vote in the upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
We want British people across Europe (and the UK) to have the right to choose where they live, work, study and retire. If the UK votes to leave the EU, these rights may well be compromised. This means that British pensioners could face huge uncertainty over their residency status and retirement benefits if they already live in Europe, or are hoping to retire there in future. Likewise, British students who go to universities across the EU currently have access to a first rate education at a fraction of the price that students from non-EU countries pay. Leaving the EU could mean forfeiting that right as well as the automatic access to 28 job markets that EU membership currently gives British graduates.
Expat Brits who want to vote in the referendum need to know if they can still register and how. Fewer than 1 in 20 expat Brits registered to vote in the General Election, even though collectively we make up a population a little smaller than that of Greater Manchester. With the polls being as tight as they are, clearly our overseas vote could make a huge difference to the final referendum result.
Mr. George Cunningham, member of the LibDem leadership, Brussels
Campaign – Vote for Brits Abroad: On-going lobby efforts
LOBBYING THE LORDS FOR THE VOTE in the EU REFERENDUM
Many thanks to those of you who have already lobbied the House of Lords to give all UK overseas voters the vote in the EU referendum. This has already had an impact: on Monday, Lord Hannay (ex Ambassador to the UN) and Baroness Sue Miller, will propose amendments to the Referendum Bill to ensure that all British Citizens would have a vote in the EU Referendum, regardless of whether/how long they have lived abroad.
To ensure that an amendment to the franchise is accepted, and that people directly and seriously affected by the EU Referendum have a say, we need to ask for your support again. There are two ways in which you can help:-
- Please complete this questionnaire circulated by the New Europeans. The aim is to gather feedback from both overseas voters and UK voters concerning the franchise for the EU Referendum. The information gathered will be collated and provided to peers to back up lobbying efforts by New Europeans, the Votes for Expat Brits campaign, and other organisations lobbying on this issue:-
- PLEASE LOBBY A LORD if you have not already done so. The EU Referendum Bill is currently in committee stage, 1st and 2nd readings having taken place. Peers have introduced amendments and these have to be accepted for further debate at report stage. Only if an accepted amendment passes at report stage, will it be debated in the House of Commons. If not – the matter is dead. So we need to keep lobbying to ensure that the amendments to be launched on Monday are accepted for debate at the next report stage. How to lobby:-
Mr. Brian Cave, British Community in France
Report from CEDISE – association of Sardinian expats
The main activity of Cedise association focuses on the study of migration flow from the Sardinia island.
In the present day, the association launched an online survey addressed to Sardinian people around the world, in particular young people who started the migration process in the latest years forced by the economic and social crisis.
The survey was launched on June 2015 and will be available until June 2016. It is addressed to Sardinian people who left Sardinia since 80’ until today, and is composed in two parts: one is the online questionnaire (http://www.cedise.net/it/ricerca-sardi-nel-mondo), and the second are the interviews to the emigrants.
The aim of the survey is the creation of a map about the presence of Sardinian people around the world, their activities, the difficulties and their potential. The results of the research will raise the debate about migration topic in Sardinia, that, due to its scarce population density, suffers dramatically the consequences of emigration in terms of depopulation and impoverishment of labour force.
Mrs. Francesca Mazzuzi – secretary-general of CEDISE
Report from Global Ukraine INGO
“Think globally, act locally”
The Global Ukraine INGO is an independent international non-governmental organization that aims to develop a new professional public diplomacy network of Global Ukrainians.
Global Ukraine aims to promote Ukrainian interests worldwide in order to contribute to the transformation of Ukraine into a global and successful startup. Global Ukraine’s creation goes back to the EuroMaidan Revolution of Dignity.
The Global Ukraine INGO was officially registered in Kyiv in February 2015. The launch of the Global Ukrainians Forum was then initiated, a network of young Ukrainian leaders and expatriates, highly-educated and globally-connected, successful global thinkers with international experience in different areas (working in the academic or business sectors, in European or international institutions etc.).
I Global Ukrainians Forum (10 – 12 July 2015)
Global Ukraine, with the support of International Renaissance Foundation, initiated and organized the I Global Ukrainians Forum that discussed “Globalization, challenges and new opportunities for Ukraine”.
The I Global Ukrainians Forum launched a constructive dialogue between national diplomats, representatives of the business sector and government institutions and other experts in order to develop a strategy for the new professional public diplomacy network of Global Ukrainians.
“Global Ukraine is a platform for communication for Global Ukrainians from the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, the EU countries as well as Asian and Arab countries. Global Ukraine brings together expats, decision-makers and experts willing to promote Ukrainian interests worldwide,” – says Violeta Moskalu, a founder of Global Ukraine INGO, initiator and co-founder of Global Ukrainians Forum.
Our mission is:
- Create a new professional public diplomacy network of Global Ukrainians to promote the Ukrainian identity, protect and advance Ukraine’s cultural and economic interests worldwide.
- Connecting people, places and ideas in order to strengthen the intellectual and economic capital of Ukraine through new globalization opportunities.
- Spread true information regarding the Ukrainian struggle for freedom and democracy.
- Strengthening the development of a Ukrainian civil society
- Attracting investments for the implementation and development of Global Ukraine projects
- Launch new synergizing projects by networking Ukrainians who are mobilized to promote Ukraine abroad and to support the democratic development of Ukraine:
- Global Ukraine Academy: A futuristic university that will bring together the best European and Ukrainian higher educational institutions on the same platform. It is a unique business and educational space of global significance that is to become a point of interaction of Ukrainian intellectual resources with opportunities of a global world.
- Global Ukraine News. A new global informational and analytical agency aimed to spread objective and truthful information about current events in Ukraine. This will influence the promotion of a positive image of the country worldwide.
- Global Ukraine Promo. A strategic and systematic approach to the promotion of Ukrainian culture, economics and tourism through the creation of new mechanisms for export promotion on the global markets as well as for attracting foreign investments in Ukraine.
- Public diplomacy
- Cultural diplomacy
- Business diplomacy
These main aspects of Promo activity will develop a “global startup” mindset through a huge number of new connections between Young Ukrainian Leaders worldwide. Our goal is to promote our vision of our new Global Ukraine – a remarkable space for development of your ideas, your business and your personality.
AGROPORT Kharkiv 2015 International Forum (15 – 17 October 2015).
Global Ukraine took part as a “global partner” in the International Agrarian Forum, an annual event that aims to create conditions for the development of agricultural business in Ukraine and introduce new technologies to farmers.
Meridian Czernowitz Poetry Festival Tour (9 – 15 October 2015)
Global Ukraine initiated, co-organized and co-sponsored the Meridian Czernowitz Poetry Festival Tour in European French-speaking cities (Metz, Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg) for prominent Ukrainian writers, journalists and public opinion leaders. Literary readings and discussions, focused on the topic of “War amidst Culture and Culture amidst War”, aimed to show that Ukraine is a peaceful European country with a rich history and strong culture, a country with brilliant intellectuals who act as “cultural diplomats”.
31 October 2015 Global Ukraine is organizing II Global Ukrainians Forum
With the support of Kyiv-Mohyla Business School the second global meeting of expatriates, governors and experts in order to discuss our common vision of professional public diplomacy strategy for promotion of Ukrainian interests worldwide.
“II Global Ukrainians Forum is a large-scale networking platform. Its aim is to present a strategy of public cultural and business diplomacy, as well as the preparation for the General Assembly to be held in January 2016”, says Violeta Moskalu.
Among Ukrainian expatriates to take part in II Global Ukrainians Forum are the following:
Nick Bilogorsky (California, USA, Nova Ukraine);
Oleksiy Moskalenko (Shanghai, Ukrainian Association of Shanghai);
Lyubov Shypovych & Natalia Shyrba (New York, USA, Razom for Ukraine);
Maria Shved (Cairo, Egypt);
Natalia Panchenko (Wasaw, Poland, Fundacja Otwarty Dialog та Euromaidan Warszawa)
and other speakers from UAE, Japan, Mexico etc.
The aim of II Global Ukrainians Forum is to create a coalition of expatriates who are eager and ready to launch new startups of a global scale. Our platform is a powerful “synergizer” for acceleration of innovative projects for successful future of Ukraine.
Contacts: Global Ukraine INGO
Reanimation Package of Reforms
6A Olhynska str.
UA00108 Kyiv, Ukraine
Contact: Mrs. Violeta Moskalu, president of Global Ukraine
Association of European Migrations Institutions (AEMI)
Partner organisation of ETTW
25th AEMI Conference:
Europe and Migrations in the 3rd Millennium, Turin, September 23-26 2015
The annual AEMI conference which took place in Turin at the Altreitalie Center on Italian
Migrations in the World covered a wide range of both historical questions and contemporary issues, including: identity; mobilities in times of crisis; migrants’ food, migration policies, Centers’ best practices and the presence of a European cultural identity created by the migratory experience – in all its meanings: a Europe built from the bottom through the story of millions of exiles, refugees and migrants who have crossed borders over the centuries. The Conference ended with a tour of Turin ethnic market in San Salvario run in time by different waves of migrants.
The four days of gathering were attended by a hundred participants, among them directors of major European museums and research centers and Italian and foreign scholars.
The ‘Association of European Migration Institutions (AEMI), estabilished in Germany in
1991, includes 40 European institutions and has among its objectives the study of migration of the various European countries, with special attention to intra-European migration and contemporary migration policies.
Mrs. Maddelena Tirabassi, vice-president of AEMI
International Public Relations Association (IPRA)
Partner organisation of ETTW
IPRA, the International Public Relations Association, celebrated its 60th anniversary in style last month at a congress in Johannesburg, South Africa with delegates from 38 countries. The Congress on the theme of leadership heard from a distinguished panel of speakers all leaders in their own right, from CEOs to social campaigners.
A key event of the Congress was the IPRA Golden World Awards for Excellence Gala at which over 50 awards were announced for the 2015 competition. The UN Award for social progress went to Sydney Convicts Rugby Union Club for their pioneering campaign Tackling Homophobia in Sport. And this year’s Grand Prix went to South African agency, Atmosphere Communications and King James Group, for their splendid campaign Sanlam: One Rand Man, aimed at focusing on the declining savings rate among consumers by paying a man’s monthly salary in one rand coins – a lot of one rand coins!
“As we judged the awards this year, it was fascinating to see the great efforts involved and how so many entries went beyond core business and core business targets” explains Amybel Sánchez de Walther, IPRA’s President. “We saw wonderful projects with well-structured action plans which led to sustainable results be they in sales, or environmental awareness, or well-being, or social change.”
Contact: Mr. Philip Sheppart, secretary-general of IPRA
ETTW Working Group on A New European Diaspora’ Policy:
After the successful conference on European Mobility in Riga in May 2015 this working group was charged with assuring a follow up to the Riga recommendations.
In its two meetings after the conference the working group has focused on the recommendations concerning 1) the quality of data and research on intra-EU migration flows, 2) the designation of a European Year of Mobile Citizens, 3) the consultations of the European Commission on their upcoming Citizenship Report and 4) the possibility of organizing a European Expat Convention in 2018.
A meeting with representatives of EUROSTAT was set up in Luxemburg in order to start a discussion on how to improve the data on mobile European citizens. The EUROSTAT was very interested in pursuing this item with the ETTW, particularly within the areas of improving mirror migration statistics, return migration, barriers to mobility and posted workers. It was agreed to continue the discussion on these issues working towards a major conference with EUROSTAT in the 2nd semester of 2016.
The recommendation on designating a European Year of Mobile Citizens has been followed up by the members of the working group. Meetings have been held with the cabinets of the responsible European commissioners, MEPs and the ECOSOC. There is a sincere interest in the European institutions of organizing such a year during the present mandate. The Working group will table a concrete proposal for the ETTW board in November to be sent to President Juncker.
The launch of the Commission’s popular consultation in preparation for the 2016 report on European Citizenship has been discussed in the working group. The group proposed to our President that the member organizations be encouraged to mobilize their expats to react directly to the EC and to simultaneously contribute to a draft opinion on the Report to be drawn up by the ETTW and sent to commissioner Jourova after the November Board meeting
At the proposal of the working group the President has sent a letter to the Maltese Prime Minister proposing to look into the possibility of organizing the first ever European Expat Convention in Malta during the Maltese presidency of the Council of the EU in 2018.
The Next meeting of the group will be held on November 12 in Brussels
Contact: Steen Illeborg co-chair.
ETTW and the European Year on Mobile Citizens:
Short update on a European Year of Mobile Citizens
Lobbying for a European Year of Mobile Citizens is continuing. Since the last update, meetings have taken place with the VP for Citizenship in the European Parliament, who gives us full support, with VP Timmermans cabinet and with DG Justice. Contacts have also been taken with the three relevant committees in the European Parliament, that also supports the Year as such, but where discussions on the right timing is ongoing. It appears that the Parliament has already given its support for 2018 to be the European Year of Cultural Heritage.
This leaves us with 2017 (UK referendum year) or 2019 (EP election year). The cabinet of Commissioner Thyssen (Employment) has also been approached but has so far not resulted in a meeting. It has to be understood that all attention of the Member States and the European Commission is currently devoted to the urgent and difficult political situation related to finding solutions to the increased refugee and migration challenge. Further up-dates to come.
Mrs. Ylva Tivéus, board member of ETTW, coordinator for the European Year for ETTW
ETTW Working Group on Voting Rights in the European Elections 2019:
Following discussions in the working group’s first meeting in October it was decided to concentrate on appropriate contacts and actions on following issues:
- How can the low participation of expats (residing in or outside the EU) in European parliament elections be explained?
- Is it due to a lack of interest?
- Is the voting reluctance the result of complex (heavy) administrative requirements?
- Are the EU Member States motivated to anticipate and solve the problems EU citizens are facing?
- The working group will endeavor to contact the appropriate institutions and organizations to gather the existing information on these issues.
- The working group will follow the legislative process on European level: legislative initiatives and regulations.
- On member State level: implementation of EU requirements in state Laws and regulations.
- The working group will, when legally possible, encourage initiatives (including electronic and/or internet voting) which facilitate the European expats voting process.
- If and when possible the working group will support ETTW initiatives, in collaboration with other expat organizations, to increase the consciousness of expats on the importance to participate in European elections. More particularly the working group will review the feasibility, promote the organization and support the implementation of an ECI (or similar initiative) launched by European expats. This type of action would also have the merit to increase the involvement and consciousness of expats with respect to European elections.
- The working group intends to finalize the Summary Memo on outstanding problems and priority actions to be undertaken before the end of this year.
Mr. Christian Vincke, chairman of the working group on voting rights
ETTW Working Group on electronic voting, on-line polling for expats, etc.:
On Friday 23rd of October the first meeting of ETTW’s electronic voting group chaired by Dorin Fleseriu ( firstname.lastname@example.org , RomBel asbl) had special guests from dutch company SMARTMATIC, a leading provider of electronic and internet voting solutions worldwide. During presentation, it was emphasized the success of i-voting in Estonia, where it is active since 2005 and raised its share year by year to over +30% of total voters. Also the company representatives (Mr. Peter van der Veldt & Mr. Michael Summers) presented their innovative voting system which assures voting access from any mobile (smartphone or tablet) or regular computer under full security & anonymity.
Conclusions & action plan proposal for future:
- a) I-voting could be BEST solution for giving access to +80 million EU expats worldwide to EU elections. It is also helping raising the number of EU voters which is constantly declining. 2019 it is a hard target but not impossible to achieve.
- b) I-voting for expats could be done on a single, unique European platform, which will provide secure, trustful and transparent operation for each country. The system can be scaled to any number of countries, thus it may be gradually extended as the systems is approved in accepted by EUs countries.
- c) To possibly schedule a brief presentation of i-voting system to larger ETTW audience (i.e. board meeting, ETTW members meeting, …) to familiarize the innovative i-voting system.
- d) Explore ways to organize a conference on i-voting on European Parliament
- e) Smartmatic is investigating as well our proposal if we could use their system to collect 1,000,000 signatures for initiating an ECI for i-voting to EP.
We agreed to explore other companies i-voting systems in the near future too.
Mr. Dorin Fleseriu, charman of the working group on electronic voting, etc.
ETTW Working Group on Expats and Education:
Education of children of expats is certainly one of the central challenges for smooth mobility of European citizens. The scene is rather complex with national schools abroad, schools mainly dedicated to expats, schools in each country which host foreign pupils, European schools, and IB or other schools delivering international curricula.
ETTW started to identify the main challenges and possible actions which could be tacken by countries, European institutions and ETTW itself. It is elaborated with the backing of an expert group and in consultation of the national organisations of expats which are members of the Board of ETTW.
An action plan is expected to be agreed at the next ETTW Board, with in particular the creation of a network of dedicated schools to expats, a better knowledge of the situation of the education infrastructure of education for mobile citizens, the participation of ETTW in European exchange of best practices relating to language and cultural needs, …
Mr. Pierre Mairesse, chaiman of the working group Expats and Education
REMEMBER: EU CITIZENSHIP:
Public on-line consultation (all 24 EU languages). Deadline: December 7, 2015
Take part! Put it on your website and your social media. Inform your networks
ETTW NEWS SERVICE – December 2015
Deadline for contributions: November 16, 2015
Niels Jørgen Thøgersen – President ETTW
09.11. – Lithuanian World Community – Board meeting
11.11. – Vote in the European Parliament on the Huebner-Leinen report on voting rights
12.11. – Working Group meeting “A New European Emigrants’ Policy” Brussels
26.11. – ETTW Board meeting and general assembly, Brussels
27.11. – European Movement members meeting ( ETTW ass. member)
01.12. – New Europeans’ conference in Brussels
01.01. – The Netherlands takes over the presidency of the EU
Niels Jørgen Thøgersen – 01 11 2015