Newsletter No 4 – December 2015
ETTW news from Brussels
European Parliament supports voting right to all expats – and electronic voting
European Movements event 19.11.2015 in the European Parliament on:
THE REFORM OF THE ELECTORAL LAW OF THE EU
This report that was drafted by Jo Leinen (S&D), MEP and President of the European Movement International and Danuta Hübner (EPP), Chairwoman of AFCO Committee seeks to make the European Elections more transparent, more attractive and more European.
After several debates, it was finally adopted by the Parliament on 11 November with 315 votes in favour, 234 against and 55 abstentions. Discussions on the proposal are now in the hands of the Council of the EU and has already started with the Luxemburgish Presidency at an informal breakfast meeting on November 19th.
Of particular importance to ETTW and its members are that:
Member States may introduce electronic and internet voting for elections to the European Parliament and, where they do so, shall adopt measures sufficient to ensure the reliability of the result, the secrecy of the vote and data protection. (Article 4a)
Member States may afford their citizens the possibility of casting their vote by post in elections to the European Parliament. (Article 4b)
All Union citizens, including those living or working in a third country, shall have the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure the exercise of this right. (Article 9a).
The proposals in these articles are fully in line with ETTWs priorities and are the focus of the work in two of ETTWs working groups.
The European Commission is fully supporting the Resolution but is not formally part of the process. It is expected that it will be a rather lengthy legislative process as not all Member States are in favour of some difficult issues in the Resolution.
ETTW was present at the event, when the Resolution was presented in the European Parliament on November 19th and made the case for the 80 million EU citizens that would benefit in particular from the proposals on allowing e- and i-voting and the right for all EU citizens living outside the EU to take part in the European elections. ETTW welcomed and gave its full support to the Resolution and promised to be a constructive and active partner in defending and promoting its objectives.
ETTW initiative on Home Coming for expats
More and more expat associations are active in the field of facilitating the Home Coming of expatriates. Therefore, ETTW has taken the initiative to organize a better exchange of Best Practices in this important field.
Mrs. Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist, secretary-general of Swedes Worldwide, has agreed to present the Swedish experience at a coming event in early 2016.
Expat organisations and expats in a number of countries have shown great interest in this initiative such as Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Greece and Spain. More will certainly join.
More ETTW contacts to expat organizations
We have since the latest ETTW NEWS SERVICE also established contact to the Slovenian Citizens Abroad, to the Bulgarian Diaspora, and to the American Citizens Abroad.
EU survey on European Citizenship
Please, continue to promote the ongoing public EU survey on EU CITIZENSHIP. It is certainly our interest, that as many expats will reply to the survey as possible (available in 24 languages).
Deadline : December 7, 2015
Contributions from Danes Worldwide – member of ETTW
Lobby activities: The Danish legislation allowing dual citizenship entered into force on September 1st, 2015. This has led to many requests to Danes Worldwide on the implications of the new legislation. Danes Worldwide has been invited to speak at several large events for expat communities in Denmark and Sweden as well as for Danish communities in Singapore and Thailand. These activities followed up on previous trips this year to USA and Canada in May/June 2015.
The new Danish Government, which took office in June, has presented a number of initiatives tightening the rules for foreigners in Denmark. Danes Worldwide is closely monitoring the effect of this on our members and their non-Danish family members (spouses, children). Danes Worldwide has been quoted several times in the press for warning that the new initiatives may hinder the mobility of labour.
Secretary General, Ms. Anne Marie Dalgaard, wrote an article, published online and in print on October 20th in the daily paper Berlingske with the title Denmark is losing its global talents. The article won much appraisal among Danish industrialists, lobbyists and members of Danes Worldwide. http://www.b.dk/kronikker/danmark-mister-sine-globale-talenter
Danish education: Danes Worldwide has for more than 30 years organized a 3-week summer school for children in the age 9 – 18 years. It has been an increasing success with more than 450 youngsters participating in 2015. Next year will be the opening of the 1-week ”Mini-Summerschool” aimed at children in the age group 6 – 9 years, participating with up two parents/or grandparents. On the first day of enrolling, 43 participants signed up. We expect this new initiative to be sold out shortly.
The online Danish classes on school level Danish continues as always. Danes Worldwide´s education team is currently evaluating our present online learning management system with a view to updating it from the next academic year.
The newly launched online course “Danish for Beginners” is a success, which is generating a considerably higher income than budgeted.
New service to young Danes: “Forum for exchange of experience” among Danish students is opening by the end of the year. This new initiative is a pilot project financed by external funds and carried out in cooperation between Danes Worldwide and Danish Students Abroad. The Forum is an advisory service for Danish students, who either want to return to study in Denmark or who live in Denmark and wish to study abroad. The Forum will be complementary to the existing services currently in place at the international offices at Danish universities.
Danes Worldwide and the Danish Confederation of Industry will hold its´ joint annual seminar on “In- and Expatriation of Staff” aimed at HR Directors and Global Mobility Managers. The event takes place on January 28th , 2016 and will offer information on labour law, tax law, pensions and other legislation to consider when being responsible for mobile labour. In addition, there will be a presentation on how to best take care of spouses/partners and children when moving abroad or relocation home.
Contact: Mrs. Anne Marie Dalgaard, secretary-general: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contribution from Finland Society – Member of ETTW
The Finnish Expatriate Parliament (FEP) assembled to its 8. plenary session on 22-23 May 2015, at the Festive Hall of the University of Helsinki old main old building. The eight Committees of the session worked in nearby auditoriums. Of the total number of Finnish expatriate which have ratified FEP rules (519 in 38 countries), altogether 125 organisations from 21 countries sent their representatives to the session. Organisations could also participate without physical presence, via submitting motions of resolution following order specified by rules. Actual session participants numbered 140 official representatives of expatriate Finnish organisations and 47 official observers.
The 2015 session adopted 41 resolutions. After the closure of the deadline for motions for resolution three months previously, the FEP Secretariat had joined similar motions and had given them background contextualisations. Then the official session representatives, divided into eight committees, worked these motions, now named as proposals for resolutions. On the second session day, committees handed their results to the plenary deliberation. The plenary can modify the resolution proposals and then votes to either reject or adopt them.
The FEP session always acknowledges the eight Area representatives who are elected internally by the 8 FEP Areas themselves, and become the eight Deputy Speakers of the FEP Speakers’ Council.
Present for the opening and beyond were invited guests and local and expatriate Finnish press. Due to previous commitment by the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Parliament was to deliver the session opening speech. Then due to the very recent parliamentary elections, this Parliamentary Speaker was nominated during preceding days as the country’s Prime Minister (Mr Juha Sipilä). Finally the opening speech was given by II Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Mr Ben Zyskowicz. The festive second day speech was given by MEP Mr Pekka Haavisto. He had served as the Government’s special representative to peace in Horn of Africa and was after our session nominated as the Prime Minister’s Special representative to peace mediation.
Next to the Grand Hall, 11 specialist session display partners, covering both state and non-state parties offered information and services tailored specifically at expatriate Finns.
The three traditional pre-session seminars reflected key topics to expat Finns:
- “Finland in year 2017 – how to pull the country out of the swamp”, was a designated dialogue for all expats in three languages, co-hosted with the official Government’s 100th state independence anniversary committee for 2017. Keynote speeches were given by Ministry of Foreign Affairs State Secretary Mr Peter Stenlund and Finland 100-committee General Secretary Pekka Timonen who stressed the centenary’s key them “Together”. (http://suomi100finland.fi/en/frontpage).
- Suomi-koulu (Finland School) -seminar gathered to University of Helsinki old main building about 40 teachers and parents or specialists with Finnish language teaching interest.
- “Old age and two home countries” seminar attracted an 80-strong crowd. Present were Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran church expatriate work, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finnish Seamen’s church of Northern Germany, Swedish-Finnish Retirees and Institute of Migration.
The 2015 resolutions form a strong expatriate Finnish viewpoint about challenges, problems and development ideas for legislators, state administration and other decision makers. The resolutions were handed on 27. October 2015 at the Senate to State Secretary Ms Paula Lehtomäki who stood in for PM Mr Juha Sipilä.
From the Prime Minister’s office, the resolutions are sent out for a round of commentary in the Government.
Contact: Mrs. Sini Castrén – e-mail: email@example.com
News from Union Francophone des Belges à l’Étranger (member of ETTW)
Brussels Airlines: New Commercial Contract with reduction for our members on Europe and Africa flights (10%) until end of 2016.
Annual participation in INTERNATIONAL JOB DAY : many visits to UFBE stand and guidance to a wide variety of persons); participation in the upcoming November 20, 2015.
University of Namur: Info day on expatriation with presence of UFBE (06/10/2015) “Play it Mobile”
UFBE-VIW Memorandum to the federal government: well recognized
by the Prime Minister and current actions organized by it.
UFBE lost 10-15 % of its members in 2014-15. A number of actions have been taken to try to reverse that trend:
– 2014 Elections: UFBE questions raised to the 4 parties traditional francophone parties and responses from four of the presidents.
-Letter to the two negotiators about a new government Mr. Charles Michel and Mr. Chris Peeters with request for the appointment of a high-level politician with responsibility for expatriates. Joint action with ViW, Vlamingen in de Wereld.
-Writing and printing 10,000 new brochures having UFBE
-Production of a poster presenting the UFBE and its services, to be sent by diplomatic bag by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all Belgian diplomatic and consular posts (together with VIW).Letters to all ministers of the Walloon government
-New brochures and letters to all Walloon parliamentarians
-Organization of several meetings with representatives political parties
-Additional distribution in UFBE magazine by Brussels Airlines
-Distribution of flyers on EUROPCAR counters
-Permanences better located: in Mons in the office of the province; in Tournai: opening of a new
permanence; and in Liege also more presence
Contact: Mr. Christian Bauwens, secretary-general: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
News from Vlamingen in de Wereld (ETTW member)
Learning from its European friends
Flemings in the world is delighted to learn from the experience of its European friends. On November 17, testified Anne Marie Dalgaard on Danes Worldwide. And on December, 3, ETTW-President Niels Thogersen will attend the Board Meeting of the Foundation. VIW want to learn of best practices, which is an added value of the ETTW-network.
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
More info: www.viw.be
Contact: Mr. Koen van der Schaeghe, director – e-mail: email@example.com
News from Council of Maltese Abroad (member of ETTW)
MALTA – Notification D Form – Voluntary Registration of all Maltese Citizens around the world
Notification D Form – Voluntary Registration of all Maltese Citizens around the world is a form which according to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Malta was introduced in 2011 and has now been updated. The link to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website is: http://foreignaffairs.gov.mt/en/Pages/Home_Page.aspx .
Forms in English and Maltese languages can be found on link: http://foreignaffairs.gov.mt/en/PDF%20Documents/mfa-dmla_notification%20EN%2028-08-2015.pdf and instructions can be found in both languages on link http://foreignaffairs.gov.mt/en/PDF%20Documents/mfa-dmla_notification_instruction%20form%20editied%2028-08-2015.pdf .
The Notification D Form – Voluntary Registration of Maltese Citizens is very useful in cases of emergencies. For more details contact: The Director, Directorate for Maltese Living Abroad, Directorate-General for Political, EU Affairs and Maltese Abroad, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, MALTA or on generic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
News from Swedes Worldwide (member of ETTW)
Seminar in Stockholm about free movement within EU
Swedes Worldwide would like to send a reminder about our breakfast-seminar on December 8th, which takes place at the European House, Regeringsgatan 65 in Stockholm, and is being held together with the European Commission. Deadline for registration, in order to attend this event, is Tuesday December 1st. The seminar is from 8.30 to 10.30. Coffee/tee and breakfast sandwiches will be offered.
We are going to have a panel of experts from different agencies and authorities, giving advice to those who are considering moving to another EU country. Questions are going to be raised and discussed during the seminar, such as “What obligations and rights do I have as a Swede abroad?“, “What should I do before moving?” etc. Among the speakers, the board member of Swedes Worldwide and President of Ka Foreign Investment Corporation AB, Kai Hammerich, will talk about the importance of an international life experience in general.
Contact: Mrs. Marika Tornberg – e-mail: email@example.com
News from Friuli nel Mondo (member of ETTW)
Report from their activities for Italian expats in Southern France
The Com.It.Es. of Lyon has been elected last April and is in charge of three French regions: Rhône-Alpes, Auvergne and Limousin. New activities have already been started! We are 16 persons, 12 elected members plus 4 French persons with Italian origins (selected by all the members themselves).
Three Commissions have been created:
1) Welcome and Orientation Commission, aiming to welcome and help Italian migrants getting to our region with administrative matters, legal and social security matters, tax problems and much more practical aspects. We have created an helpdesk which is held on a monthly basis in Lyon, and will be soon held in Grenoble et Clermont-Ferrand;
2) Culture, Education and Associations Commission, aiming to support cultural and educational projects, with a specific interest for younger and elder Italian generations;
3) Information and Transports Commission, whose goal is to create a dialogue with the Italian community, to communicate all our programs and activity, to improve transportations from and to Italy, to receive their propositions, ideas and opinions. By the way, we also created a Questionnaire on our website to gather information about Italian community, via this link: http://www.comites-lyon.org/it/questionario-degli-italiani-della-circoscrizione-consolare-di-lione
Contact: Mrs. Francesca Doria, president: firstname.lastname@example.org
Europeans Without Borders
Ass. member of ETTW
The main activity of Europeans without borders is currently to create a video to promote European Citizens Rights.
You can have a look on our website : http://europeman.eu
The winner is Mégane Lepage we are going to produce her animation film beginning of next year.
Contact: Mr. Nicolas Delaby: e-mail: email@example.com
First MEP member of ETTW
The Hungarian member of the European Parliament, Mr. István Ujhelyi, has joined ETTW as an individual member. He is the first MEP to join our work.
As already reported in ETTW NEWS SERVICE No. 2 Mr. Ujhelyi is very active when young Hungarian expats are concerned:
Istvan Ujhelyi is trying to find solution to provide young generations with attractive opportunities at home so literally hundreds of thousands are not forced to migrate. His new, Hungarian socialdemocratic programme, the so-called ‘Homecall-project’ (Hazaváró-program) – tailored to the Hungarian situation – aims to address this challenge. He is in connection with the European Commission, trying to make up a fund, which can help those, who want to get back home and start a new life.
Istvan has launched a so called “virtual client window” in the last month, where he collects the complaints and the proposals of Hungarian expats. We got already more than a hundred e-mails to our address: firstname.lastname@example.org, and we have solved dozens of expat-problems, for example quicker birth registration of expat’s children. Istvan would like to organise an advocacy network for the Hungarians abroad Europe, for the first step he has office hours in European cities. He already met with the Hungarians in London, in the following weeks he would have meetings in Berlin, Malta, Wien and Paris with the there-living Hungarians.
Contact: Mrs. Tamas Lajos Szalay: e-mail: email@example.com
About consular service to expats
The Portuguese authorities have introduced a new policy, which means that Portuguese citizens are received in the Consulates only by appointment. Expats are afraid of having to wait weeks or even months to get an appointment.
I thought that a comparative approach to the issue might be relevant. Could you ask your contacts for the following information:
- Number of citizens registered in their consulates?
- Number of staff (in the front line)?
- Consulates receive directly or only by appointment?
- If appointment, what is the average waiting time? Since when the system has he been there? What for ? Is Diaspora satisfied with this system?
Contact: Mr. Pedro Rupio, Portuguese Expats in Belgium. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
European expats in Canada
Short report from Polish researcher
Two elements characterise outflows from the EU nowadays: diversity and temporarity.
First, EU citizens arriving in Canada as permanent residents between 2004 and 2012 declared 198 mother tongues.
This stunning number reflects growing diversity of European societies but also possibly failed integration in the EU. This diversity means that any policy towards European nationals must take into account the variety of expectations and links to the EU.
Second, temporary mobility prevails in all main countries of destination. In Canada, the number of EU nationals arriving as permanent residents decreased by 25%, from nearly 28,000 in 2004 to below 20,800 in 2013. In the same period, the number of EU nationals entering as temporary workers on closed visas increased to over 30%, from nearly 16,300 to almost 24,600, while student migration tripled from nearly 6,300 to almost 18,400. On top of that, in 2014 alone, well over 42,700 EU nationals qualified for the International Experience Canada program that gives access to temporary open work visas.
By and large EU nationals leave their EU citizenship at the EU borders. They do not exercise their right to freedom of movement residing outside of the EU; they do not need consular protection in places like Canada; and they face more obstacles to exercising their right to vote in the European elections: out of 13 Member States which do not allow their citizens abroad to vote, six disenfranchise only citizens living outside of the EU.
Contact: Mrs. Agnieszka Weinar – e-mail: email@example.com
News from Croatian World Congress
Elections in Croatia
Recently held elections for the new government in Croatia on 08.11.2015 have raised a lot of interest among the Croatian expats.
About 57.000 voters were registered to vote. It is unfortunately a very small number in comparison with the number of people living abroad. Many voters have expressed their dissatisfaction that more voting places were not available to the public, not only in consulates and the embassy but also in local clubs. They also want voting by correspondence to be introduced. To that effect a petition is to be sent to the Croatian Government to make the necessary changes.
Croatian World games
To be held in Zagreb from 18 to 22 of July 2017 expect to attract hundreds of athletes from all around the world.
These will be 4th to be held over the last ten years.
The preparation for the Games are in full swing. Local committees have been established to help in the organization. This time around the Croatian Government will help not only financially but also from organizational point of view.
It is a great occasion for young people to meet, to socialize, to form new friendships. The Games in the past were held every four years. It has become a permanent fixture in the country sporting calendar. The games are organized jointly by the CWC and the Croatian Government.
Meeting G2…of Croatian investors from around the world was recently held in Zagreb, Croatia from 26 to 30 of Oct. It was a great success.
Croatian World Congress was one of the sponsors of this event.
Project Director, Mr. Josip Hrgetić, a member of the CWC executive, explained the concept of the conference: “We are looking for ways to show entrepreneurs of Croatian decent how to recognize investment possibilities in Croatia. Croatia has a perfect infrastructure although there are problems with its bureaucracy. Croatians are honest, diligent, hard working and proud of their heritage. This is why we came to the conclusion that it would be interesting for the two to be connected.”
The President of the country came to the opening and the participants to the conference were received by the Prime minister.
Participants came from 17 countries, there were 7 discussion panels. The organization of the next meeting in 2016 has already started.
Contact: Mr. Stjepan Asic, president – e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
News from Swiss Community Abroad
A new law of great importance to Swiss expatriates took effect November 1, 2015. It decides that the government has to organize a one-stop-shop for all expats, when they want to contact the ministries. One entry point for all expats. The law also contains a number of other important new initiatives.
The Swiss Community Abroad has also launched an initiative to ensure the right to electronic voting for all expats.
Finally, a new Youth Expat Parliament has been elected among young Swiss expats.
All three points will be covered in more details in the next ETTW NEWS SERVICE No. 5
See more about ASO’s work o their home page: http://www.swisscommunity.org
About government support to the diaspora
Government backs plan to strengthen co-operation with Polish diaspora, encourages return of Poles living abroad, PAP dispatch from 18 August 2015.
The Polish government on Tuesday backed a plan that outlines co-operation with the Polish diaspora up to 2020. The plan looks to support the teaching of the Polish language, strengthen the position of Polish communities and encourage Poles living abroad to return to the country. It also hopes to offer incentives for relocating to Poland to people of Polish origin.
The programme promoting co-operation with Polish communities and Poles living abroad between 2015-2020 was prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Foreign Ministry said that the programme intends to build on existing partnerships with Polish communities abroad as well as benefit from the potential of Polish professionals living outside the country’s borders.
The government-backed programme looks to strengthen links between Polish migrants working across Europe and their homeland. It also hopes to create professional opportunities for young Poles in the diaspora and make better use of the professional expertise of Poles living abroad. The plan also aims to secure the rights of Polish minorities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said the programme will reinforce mutually-beneficial partnerships with diaspora communities, strengthening co-operation in shaping Poland’s image abroad and deepening ties with countries within which Poles are based.
In particular, this will entail regional co-operation (for example within municipalities) and sector-focused co-operation (including schools, cultural institutes and economic structures).
According to the Foreign Ministry, the programme includes a new provision that sets out rules of engagement with Polish communities and Poles abroad, with a special emphasis on the importance of partnerships.
“The partnership approach was already very evident in the drafting of this document – the long process of consultations regarding the programme was well received within Polish communities abroad. We are also well aware of the fact that many members of the Polish diaspora are also citizens of other countries, countries to which they also owe their civic loyalty. Furthermore, we appreciate that many of our compatriots have lost touch with the Polish language. This means that in order to communicate with them effectively we must reach out to them in the language of the country in which they are living,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement sent to PAP.
The programme sets out several strategic aims: supporting the teaching of the Polish language, strengthening Polish identity and ensuring the ability to participate in national culture, strengthening Polish communities abroad, encouraging Poles living abroad to return to the country, offering incentives of relocating to Poland to people of Polish origin as well as developing wide-ranging contacts with Poland.
The plan will be realized in co-operation with several ministries, central offices and provinces. The Polish government’s policies towards the diaspora are shaped in partnership with, amongst others, the chancellery of the Polish president, parliamentary and senate committees, municipal councils, international organisations, diaspora associations and organisations connected to the Church.
The current programme has been given a six-year mandate. The document includes specific provisions for individual ministries and central institutions tasked with shaping Poland’s policy towards the diaspora. The objectives outlined in the plan are for 2015-2016, after which they will be updated twice – setting out priorities for 2017-2018 and then 2019-2020.
The backbone underpinning the programme is its partnership with Polish communities and compatriots all over the world, as was made evident by the preparation that went towards drafting the plan: two months of consultations, during which close to 100 opinions and proposals were considered.
It is estimated that between 18-20 million Poles and people of Polish origin live beyond Poland’s borders. One-third of this group consists of Poles born in Poland, the rest are people of Polish origin with different levels of attachment to Poland.
In the 19th and 20th Century, Poles émigrés set out in several directions: the United States (in 2012, 9.6 million Americans claimed to be of Polish origin), South America (Brazil, 1.5 million, and Argentina, 120,000). In the last fifty years, more Poles have left for Canada (around 1 million) and Australia (170,000) while the size of Polish minorities living in Eastern Europe has decreased.
News from Global Lithuanian Leaders
- Global Lithuanian Awards, Dec 29th, 2015 www.gllawards.com. Would it fit into the content?
- Starting new project ” Talent for Lithuania” – High quality internship program for graduate students of Lithuanian descent from foreign universities!
The program is meant to attract bright graduates of Lithuanian descent from foreign universities by professional internship possibilities at ambitious companies operating in Lithuania, and bring the value of international education to the labor market of Lithuania and mentality of local corporate culture.
Contact: Mrs. Kotryna Stankute, director – e-mail: email@example.com
News from our partner organisation
More Union in this Europe?
Conference on migration and asylum policy in Europe
Monday, 16 November, National Liberal Club, London
And European responses to the global refugee crisis: Tuesday, 1 December, House of Commons
BRUSSELS: Tuesday, 1 December, EESC
Together in Europe conference (This is our joint programme with Warsaw and Berlin on the empowerment of EU citizens in local communities)
The link to the programme is here.
ETTW NEWS SERVICE – January 2016
Deadline for contributions: January 11, 2016
Niels Jørgen Thøgersen-President ETTW
01.12.: New Europeans’ conference in Brussels
01.01: The Netherlands takes over the presidency of the EU
25.-26.1.: The Nordic expat organizations hold their annual meeting in Oslo
Niels Jørgen Thøgersen – 24 11 2015