Newsletter No 6 – April 2016
News from Board and Working Groups
Board meetings and activities
ETTW Board Meeting and General Assembly, March 10, 2016.
On March 10, the ETTW had to say thank you and good bye to its very active President during the last two and a half years, Niels Thøgersen. Niels Thøgersen has decided to stop as ETTW President and concentrate on his new project, Saving Europe.
The ETTW regretted his decision but took note of the fact and appointed Raymond Xerri, Council of Maltese Abroad, as acting President until the next General Assembly and Board meeting in June, where electing a new President will be on the agenda.
The ETTW also decided to nominate Steen Illeborg, Danes Worldwide, as new Secretary General and Marie-Claude Hayoit as Deputy Secretary General.
The ETTW Board had a discussion of its objectives and priorities and not least the future funding of its projects. It was agreed to underline the ETTW’s primary function as a forum for exchange of ideas, experiences and best practices of its member organizations and to currently review its other projects in this perspective.
The Board also confirmed the importance to the ETTW of its prioritized projects: Follow-up to the ETTW opinion on the EU citizenship report 2016; its proposal to President Juncker to launch a structured European public debate about the right of free movement; the project with the EP and major European companies on i-voting for the next European elections; educational initiatives of relevance to expats and the monitoring of ECJ rulings for expat organizations.
Steen Illeborg: email@example.com
Next Board meeting will take place in Brussels on June 9th, 2016.
Report from Working Groups
A New European Emigrants’ Policy – Follow-up to the Riga Recommendations
The working group has been charged with following up on the ETTW’s opinion on the EU Citizenship Report 2016 and its proposal to President Juncker that the Commission launch a structured “Great Public Debate on Free Movement of Citizens in the EU”. It met on April 28.
Commissioner Jourova has answered on behalf of the EC to both proposals in a letter of thanks to our President. Ms. Jourova underlines that the Commission intends to put forward new initiatives to support and facilitate the exercise of citizens’ rights.
The WG finds it unlikely that such initiatives will be tabled until after the Brexit- referendum in Britain and believes that their scope and content will depend on its outcome. The WG will recommend to the Board in June that the ETTW be ready to react when and if proposals limiting free movement are put forward.
The EC does not want to launch a public debate on Free Movement now but would focus on a European Year of EU Citizenship at a later date, writes the Commissioner.
The ETTW has been invited to participate as rapporteur in the EUROMED IV conference in May. The theme of the conference will be ‘Connecting, Communicating and Networking with Diasporas’. The WG recommends that we try to make contacts to migration networks and participating government diaspora agencies and ministries during the conference which will also be an excellent forum to promote our policy paper on a new European emigrants ‘policy and the Riga Recommendations.
The WG also reviewed the ETTW project on monitoring European Court of Justice case law rulings of relevance to free movement. Meetings have been made with ECJ president Koen Lenaerts and prof. Corthaut of the Belgian Conseil d’Etat. Both find the project interesting and useful and recommend that it be taken further.
The next contact be made will be the European Institute in Maastricht.
The WG will continue its discussion on new funding of its activities at its next meeting on May 24 and make a proposal to the Board in June.
Steen Illeborg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Based on the Hübner-Leinen report the WG is looking into a catalogue of actions in this area. Of special importance is the question of getting expats to register and actually vote.
Due to the close links to the remit of WG III and to the fact that the chairman Christian Vincke already participates in WG III’s projects it was agreed that the two groups work closely together and that perhaps it would be most practical for them to merge. A progress report on voting rights will be presented for the GA in March.
Christian Vincke <email@example.com
Electronic voting/Internet voting
The WG has had fruitful contacts with SMARTMATIC and SCYTL, the leading European companies for electronic voting. It considers that the most efficient and secure form of electronic voting is ‘internet voting’.
The WG is working on a presentation of the new techniques in cooperation with these companies at a seminar or conference in the EP in Brussels on May 24, 2016. The conference is being organized jointly with the Rumanian MEP Monica Macovei and her staff. ETTW will contact other MEPs especially from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania on this project. In preparing the seminar the WG would focus specifically on expats voting.
Dorin Fleseriu <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Expats and Education
Based on the report presented at the last ETTW board meeting, the WG will in 2016 give special attention to the following areas: setting up informal networks of national schools abroad, European and international schools; drawing the attention of European institutions and EU Member States on key challenges for education of expats’ children (instruction language training, multicultural schools) and see how to participate in European exchanges of good practices promoting easier recognition of skills, grades and qualifications particularly at the baccalaureate level. For 2017 focus should be set on the educational aspects of reintegration and homecoming preparations for expats. Contacts should be made soon with the European Commission (DG EAC) and the trio of Presidencies of the Council of Ministers to present concrete proposals for lines of action to the benefit of expats in these areas.
Pierre Mairesse email@example.com
News from member organisations
Denmark – Danes Worldwide
Danes Worldwide has signed a cooperation agreement with NIST International School Bangkok about establishing Danish as mother tongue at the school. NIST will employ a teacher after screening by
Danes Worldwide, who also will provide all language instruction material. At the same time, agreements have been made with the other major international schools in Bangkok, providing for access to the Danish teacher to their facilities in order to teach Danish children their mother tongue. This new model of cooperation between Danes Worldwide and the international schools expects to be applicable in a number of other countries throughout the World. See more here:
This agreement was signed during a trip to Asia carried out by Danes Worldwide´s Secretary General, Ms. Anne Marie Dalgaard. The trip also included a visit to Hong Kong, where Danes Worldwide made a joint event with the Danish Seaman´s Church and the Danish Chamber of Commerce. The trip ended in Shanghai with a visit to the Danish School, meetings with the Danish Consul General, the Confederation of Danish Industry and a joint presentation to members of the Danish Chamber of Commerce.
Contact: Anne Marie Dalgaard – Danes Worldwide: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sweden – Swedes Worldwide
Seminar on International Studies
Swedes Worldwide will hold a seminar about international studies to inspire students to study abroad. In addition, the seminar will raise the importance of international experience on the Swedish labour market. The event takes place on May 17th, 2016 and will offer information and valuable insights on international studies from students, employers and organisations.
Home comers activities
Swedes Worldwide has a reference group of home comers, who work to clarify the difficulties that expatriates often face when returning back to Sweden. They try to illuminate and influence the attitudes that returning Swedes encounter, such as difficulties when trying to enter the Swedish labour market.
Swedes Worldwide occasionally arrange informal events where home comers get the chance to meet other home comers, exchange experiences, establish contacts and socialize. The purpose is to have a good time with other people with similar background of living and working abroad.
Home comers can also join Swedes Worldwide´s LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8232651), with the purpose of networking among Swedes who have returned back home.
Contact: Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist: email@example.com
News from Partner organisations and other sources
American Citizens Abroad
2016 Presidential Election
American Citizens Abroad Calls on Overseas Americans to Vote If you are an American citizen living overseas you are fully entitled to vote in both primary and general election contests. It is important that you exercise your right to vote from wherever you are. A recently released University of Oxford report details how U.S. expats may impact and even decide the 2016 presidential election. Don’t let distance prevent you from standing up and being counted!
U.S. citizens who are already registered to vote or who have voted in previous elections should complete new federal postcard applications (FPCAs) to ensure they receive their ballot via the fastest delivery method possible. This can be done at the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, which has an excellent FAQ section. Alternatively, voters can go to www.overseasvotefoundation.org to request an absentee ballot, and at the same time create a personal profile which will facilitate voting in future years.
Voting laws and procedures vary from state to state. You will obtain an absentee ballot from, and send your ballot to, the county, borough or parish election office at your last place of domicile in the United States. The registration process for overseas voters has changed in many states this election cycle, so be sure that you are not caught out by missing a deadline.
If you are a U.S. citizen, but you have never lived in the United States, a number of states will permit you to vote in the last place of residence of your American parent. FVAP has a current list of states that allow these citizens to vote absentee. In a number of states, such persons are eligible to vote as a federal voter and may vote for federal offices only.
If you travel extensively but are U.S. based, with a U.S. address, you can ensure you get your ballot there quickly with a visit to U.S. Vote Foundation. Finally, if you cannot find an answer to your question on the websites above, feel free to contact the Voting Assistance Officer at the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Washington, D.C., London, Geneva
UK Referendum 23 June
The UK referendum on a future exit or remain in the European Union is making the headlines in all media. There are about 5 million British expats around the world, whereof about 2 million living in Europe. Everybody who has been away less than 15 years can vote and have a considerable impact on the outcome. However, at the latest elections only 106.000 registered to cast their vote. To encourage British expats to make a difference this time and in this for them so important question a new, user friendly website for UK expats has been made:
Have a look at this site and encourage your British expat friends to register and to have a say on this important question!
Lawyers vow to fight on after High Court rejects Brexit challenge for the right to vote
Lawyers acting for two British citizens fighting a legal battle for the right to vote in the EU Referendum have confirmed they will seek leave to appeal direct to the Supreme Court against the judgment by two High Court judges rejecting their challenge.
The High Court hearing into the rights of up to 2 million Britons in Europe to vote in the EU referendum took place on Wednesday 20th April 2016. The case was taken by 94-year-old Harry Shindler, a Second World War veteran who lives in Italy, and lawyer and Belgian resident Jacquelyn MacLennan.
Lawyers for the two argued that under the EU Referendum Act 2015 they are being unlawfully denied the right to vote on the UK’s continued membership of the EU as the legislation excludes British people who have lived elsewhere in the European Union for more than 15 years, from voting in June.
They told the Court that if the vote in June is to leave the EU then all British citizens will lose their status as EU citizens. This means that those British citizens living outside the UK but in the EU will become “resident aliens” living and working abroad under sufferance rather than by right and no longer able to claim the protections of EU law.
The Court also heard arguments that the ’15 year rule’ acted as a penalty against British citizens for having exercised their free movement rights. The rule prevented them from participating in a democratic process, the result of which might bring to an end the very EU law rights on which they rely and base their working and private lives every day.
However Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mr. Justice Blake stated in today’s ruling that they accepted the Government’s claims that there were: “…significant practical difficulties about adopting especially for this referendum a new electoral register which includes non-resident British citizens whose last residence the United Kingdom was more than 15 years ago.” [Para 57]
They continued: “In our view, Parliament could legitimately take the view that electors who satisfy the test of closeness of connection set by the 15 year rule form an appropriate group to vote on the
question whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union.” [Para 58]
Following the judgment Richard Stein, the lawyer from Leigh Day representing the claimants, said: “We are obviously disappointed that the High Court has denied us the opportunity to challenge the decision by the Government to exclude British citizens from the EU referendum.”
“We now intend to take the legal battle to the Supreme Court, the highest Court in the country, so that all British citizens living elsewhere in the EU can be part of the democratic process to vote in this referendum which will have a very real impact on their lives.”
“We believe that there is precedent for fast track legislation being put through Parliament in a matter of days in response to court judgment, so there would be no need for the referendum to be delayed if the Supreme Court rules in our favour.”
“Since this is a vote in a referendum rather than in an election there is no need to link the votes of Britons in Europe to any particular constituency in the UK. Possession of a British passport should be enough.”
In response to the judgment, Jacquelyn MacLennan said: “The Government made a manifesto commitment to enfranchise all British citizens, no matter how long they have been abroad saying that they thought that “choosing 15 years, as opposed to 14 or 16 years, is inherently like sticking a dart in a dartboard” and that “if British citizens maintain British citizenship that brings with it rights, obligations and a connection with this country, and that that should endure.” ”We just want the Government to keep its promises.”
Swiss abroad Congress
94th Congress of the Swiss Abroad from 5 to 7 August 2016 in Bern
Theme: “Switzerland in the World”
To mark the centenary of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), the 94th Congress of the Swiss Abroad will be held in Berne from 5 to 7 August 2016. As usual, the meeting of delegates of the Council of the Swiss Abroad will take place on Friday. The Swiss from within and those abroad are invited to participate in the centennial celebrations to be held on Parliament Square in the presence of Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter. The rich program will offer different activities on partner stands but also appointments with musical highlights and spectacular excursions.
At www.ose-congres.ch you find all the information regarding the conference registration, hotel reservations and the purchase of a Swiss Travel Pass Flex at a very attractive price.
We look forward to welcoming you in Bern and thank you in advance for sending us your registration in time (registration deadline: July 5, 2016).
Countries allowing dual citizenship
“When it comes to multiple citizenship – often also referred to as dual citizenship – the world is divided: there are countries whose citizenship regulations allow their own citizens to acquire another citizenship without losing their present citizenship. In contrast, other countries do not allow the acquisition of another citizenship, i.e., the acquisition of another citizenship necessarily leads to the loss of the present citizenship,” according to experts at Henley & Partners, a company providing residence and citizenship planning services.
List of 56 countries that allow dual citizenship based on Henley & Partners’ interpretation of citizenship legislation in the relevant countries.
|Spain (certain cases)
|St. Kitts & Nevis
Source: Henley & Partners
*Countries including Austria, Egypt and Germany generally do not allow multiple citizenship. Citizens if these countries retain their former citizenship only if they apply for permission prior to taking out another citizenship. Otherwise, citizenship is generally lost ex lege. Additionally, Austria allows dual citizenship if Austrian citizenship is acquired under 10 (6) of the Austrian Citizenship Act.
**According to Chapter 14, Annex J-Article 6 of 1951 Pakistani Nationality Law and the amendments 1952, 1972, 1973 and 2000, holding dual citizenship was not permitted. But now the government of Pakistan recognises and allows its citizens to also hold citizenships of 16 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and others.
***Countries that allow only under limited circumstances.
The Community Roundtable of Portuguese in Belgium
The Portuguese Community in Brussels has organized an initiative aimed to debate the development of proposals and the impetus of new projects in 11 thematic involving their community: consular affairs, education, culture, new emigration, European affairs, associative movement, civic participation, Lusophone, entrepreneurship, media and tourism.
The event attracted high level personalities and was also transmitted on Portuguese TV. Present were the Minister of State and President of the Brussels-Capital Region, Charles Picqué, the Ambassador of Portugal in Belgium, António Vasco Alves Machado, Mr. Ambassador of Cape Verde in Belgium, Jorge Borges, the Ms. Secretary of State for European Affairs, Margarida Marques, and Mrs. and Messrs. Deputies Marisa Matias, Carlos Zorrinho, João Pimenta Lopes and Antonio Marinho e Pinto.
Contact: Pedro Rupio firstname.lastname@example.org
Council of Europe – Draft Report on Diaspora
ETTW individual member, Pierre-Yves Le Borgn at the French Assemblée Nationale , is preparing a report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the strength of European diasporas. The report is about Educational and cultural networks of communities living abroad
Member organisations of ETTW are invited to review the draft report before the presentation and the vote which are scheduled for the end of June in Strasbourg. Members who wish to take this opportunity can contact Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ <email@example.com> for the report.
Consular protection for European Union citizens abroad – reminder!
When living or travelling outside the EU, you might sometimes need help from your embassy or consulate, e.g. in case you have lost all your belongings or have been victim of a crime.
But what happens if your country has no diplomatic or consular representation in the country where you are?
Under EU law, as an “unrepresented EU citizen”, you’re entitled to help from any other EU Member State’s embassy or consulate – under the same conditions as this EU country helps its own nationals.
This website aims to provide you with general information about the right of unrepresented EU citizens to consular protection in third countries under the same conditions as the nationals of that
EU country. It also helps you to find out whether your national state has an embassy or consulate in a given third country or territory. If you do not have an embassy or consulate in the country or territory where you are, it provides you with the contact details of embassies and consulates of other Member States that you might wish to contact to seek assistance.
Click on the link: Dedicated website on Consular protection for EU citizens outside the EU >
In this Policy paper, Nathalie Spath and Paul-Jasper Dittrich, research fellows in our German office, the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin, identify the biggest barriers European workers are confronted with in other EU countries, and give recommendations for action for a higher mobility.
A high mobility of labour as a factor of production is an important precondition for long-term efficiency gains and increases in productivity within the EU internal market, especially in combination with a high mobility of capital as a factor of production. However, the fact that all EU citizens have the right to live and work in another member state is even more important.
On 23 June the UK is voting on whether or not to remain in the EU. A Yes vote will lead to a partial discrimination of European employees in the United Kingdom. In the course of the refugee crisis and in response to Islamist terrorism there have been calls to reverse the policy of open borders. The freedom of movement, commuting daily across open borders and the equal treatment of EU citizens are no longer self-evident. A new and positive storyline is urgently needed. It should emphasize the importance of labour mobility and the way in which it can generate individual and general economic benefits for the EU.
The economic costs of non-Schengen what the numbers tell us.
Policy paper 162. 20 april 2016
Dr Anna auf dem Brinke, Research Fellow at Jacques Delors Institut, Berlina
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .Schengen stands for border-free travel and has been a European success story. But the agreement from 1995 has come under considerable pressure from two sides: the unprecedented influx of refugees and the threat of terrorism. A number of countries in the Schengen area have introduced temporary border controls. While it is unclear how these measures would solve the two challenges and whether or not a better European solution to the problem could be found, it is certain that border checks would impose economic costs. Estimates from different studies show that the largest costs would occur in trade (around €11-47 billion per year). On top of it, there would be costs for commuters, tourism and the actual border controls (each about €5-6 billion per year). All in all, this economic damage of up to €63 billion per year in the Schengen area could threaten the stability of the euro area and undermine the efficiency of the European single market. Moreover, because of the importance of open borders for European integration, ending Schengen might give the impression of a weakened European problem-solving capacity. Can Schengen be saved? It could be a collective action problem. Schengen benefits everyone. Yet, the individual costs of saving may outweigh the collective benefits. Whenever that is the case, mobilizing a coalition is notoriously difficult. Still, there should be an overlap in interests in avoiding the economic damage so that a powerful coalition could emerge. This pro-Schengen camp should have a strong argument in its favour: Keeping Schengen alive will always be the cheaper option.
This publication is part of the research project by the Jacques Delors Institut – Berlin and the Bertelsmann Stiftung. To learn more, please visit: www.strengthentheeuro.eu
Report of the Netherlands Presidency seminar EU Fundamental Values, Immigration and Integration: A Shared Responsibility
CONCLUSIONS. The seminar sought to combine theoretical and pragmatic approaches to current challenges, focusing on common concepts and values that should underlie policymaking, on short-and long term measures to ensure the implementation of agreed policies, and on our shared aspiration to continue to protect the EU’s values. There was broad agreement that fundamental values and the rule of law are a shared EU interest and thus call for a common approach, based on solidarity and the full implementation of agreed measures. This requires clear leadership and a change in the current narrative. At the same time, practical problems, limits to national reception capacity, and the impact of policy at local level cannot be neglected; these, too, must be an integral part of the discussion on upholding EU fundamental values. Many contributors emphasised that EU fundamental values entail not only rights and freedoms but also certain obligations that are binding on everyone on European soil.
This means that member states, broader European societies and new residents all have responsibilities. Given the complexities of the current migration debate, the activities of the Council of Europe, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, EU institutions and civil society should be complementary and mutually reinforcing. All the key players have a shared responsibility to help promote values and rights in the member states. Departures from these values, whether in the form of hate speech or assaults on women, whether perpetrated by members of a minority community or a majority group, must be addressed in accordance with the rule of law. The ideas shared, the questions raised and the discussions held during the seminar provide us with ample food for thought for the months to come.
The Netherlands Presidency will follow up on the seminar during the second rule of law dialogue in the General Affairs Council in May with a view to continuing the discussions and strengthening synergy with our partners. The continuing need to strengthen the rule of law and the protection of European fundamental values in both the EU and the member states in the light of the migration crisis makes this an urgent debate.
EU citizenship rights and how to strengthen them in practice: new findings from public consultation and Eurobarometers
On 15 March, the European Commission has published new Eurobarometer statistics on EU citizenship and the electoral rights that come with it. The survey shows that more Europeans (87%) than ever are familiar with their status as EU citizens.
Citizens are most aware about the right to freedom of movement and the right to make a complaint to the European Parliament, Commission and European Ombudsman. A majority of Europeans across all 28 Member States are positive about the free movement of citizens.
However, the surveys found there is still potential to further increase citizens’ awareness and knowledge about their EU rights, and to promote political participation.
- A large majority of respondents (84%) say better information on how the EU is affecting citizens’ daily lives would encourage more people to vote in the European elections.
- Most respondents (80%) believe receiving letters explaining how to register and vote would make it easier to vote in EU and national elections.
- Europeans living abroad think it would be easier to vote in their country of origin if they could vote at the embassy or consulate (74%) or via electronic or online elections (71%).
- Only about a quarter of Europeans (26%) say they feel informed about how to act when they believe their EU citizenship rights are not respected.
The European Commission is committed to ensuring that EU citizenship rights translate into concrete added-value for European citizens. In the perspective of the 2016 EU Citizenship Report, the Commission and the European Parliament organised a Hearing on EU Citizenship in practice: our common values, rights and democratic participation on 15 March 2016
For more information:
- Flash Eurobarometer on European Union Citizenship Fact Sheet(745 kB)
- Flash Eurobarometer on Electoral Rights Fact Sheet(389 kB)
- Flash Eurobarometer on European Union Citizenship
- Flash Eurobarometer on Electoral Rights
- EU Citizenship
4-6 May – EUROMED – Connecting, Communicating and Networking with the Diasporas
Conference hosted by the Irish Government and Diaspora Matters with representatives from 38 countries including European, Middle Eastern and North African countries coming to study the Irish Diaspora Engagement model. The project EUROMED is EU funded with ICMPD:
Kingsley Aikins: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel. +353 86 8064665
24 May – Conference on “I-voting EU2019″, Organised by ETTW & MEP Monica Macovei
Tuesday, May 24th, 14:00 – 17:00 at European Parliament.
More information and Agenda will follow through ETTW & Rombel’s newsletters.
Contact: Dorin Fleseriu, ETTW (i-voting workgroup chairman) and Rombel : email@example.com
27 May – European Movement International
EMI is organizing its next Federal Assembly that will be taking place on 27 May in The Hague.
Marie-Laurence Jacquemin, Head of Membership Relations, European Movement International
31 May – 1 June 2016 – EESC Civil Society Days – Living together in our Europe
European Economic and Social Committee
At the EESC building Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 99 – 1040 Brussels
The Civil Society Days are a symbol of the cooperation between the EESC and the members of the Liaison Group representing European civil society organisations and networks.
This year, it will focus on migration and on how Europe can be made more open and adapt to what needs to be seen as a structural change.
In a time in which news relate daily crisis and problems to which we are obviously not prepared, it is clear that we must move from management by crisis to management by foresight and anticipation.
Europe must cast on this phenomena and problems a wider and deeper vision, based on an open debate and a reflection rooted in our common values and capable of frankly coping with the problems that our societies face.
As for the format, the Civil Society Days are a frame, which will be filled by events and conferences organized by the EESC and civil society organisations and members of the Liaison Group.
It will be developed along three lines:
- Between security and freedom: a societal balance;
- Integration and inclusion;
- Responses to the causes of migration.
For more information, please check the programme which will be updated regularly.
Registration will be open at the end of April or early May.
European Economic and Social Committee: http://www.eesc.europa.eu/
8 July – 10th Meeting of World Lithuanian Youth
The third Meeting of World Lithuanian Youth 2016 will take place on July 8-10, 2016 in „Harmony park”. Lithuanian Youth 2016 will be covering subjects within the areas of business, politics, science and culture. A couple of dozen of spaces hosting keynote speeches, discussions, career and contact fairs, live concerts, workshops, sports tournaments and other activities will be open during the four-day event.
Save the date and wait for more info. ETTW (i-voting workgroup chairman)
Kotryna Stankute: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributions to ETTW News Service from Member organisations and partners are welcome to the ETTW News Editor: Ylva Tivéus email@example.com
Next edition: June 29 2016 with deadline for contributions June 20 c.o.b.