Newsletter N°9 – September/October 2016

News from Board and Working Groups 

ETTW Board meeting 29th September 2016 

The ETTW Board had a thorough discussion on the follow-up to the successful conference on i-voting in the European Parliament on June 22. The important presence at the conference confirmed the great interest in i-voting as a means of enhancing citizens’ – not least expat citizens’ – democratic participation in European elections. The Board approved the proposals from the responsible working group to organize i-voting seminars in interested member states and regions and to seek specific funding for this project (see below).

The Board also reviewed the other ETTW priorities in the light of the need for more secretarial support and funding. It decided to try now for corporate sponsoring as well as crowd funding and to associate ETTW to the ongoing ‘Incubator’ project in the MAI (Maison des Associations Internationales).

The attention on diaspora programs continues. ETTW’s acting president, Raymond Xerri, will participate in a meeting in Mali where outreach measures between Europe and Africa will be on the agenda. The meeting is organized in the framework of the European-African Dialogue on Migration and Development (‘The Rabat Process’).

The ETTW will continue its work towards a European Convention for Expats/Diasporas in 2018.

Contact: Steen Illeborg:  

Reports from ETTW Working Groups 

A New European Emigrants’ Policy – Follow-up to the Riga Recommendations 

After the Euromed IV Diaspora conference in Dublin 4-6 May ETTW has stayed in contact with the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) with a view to preparing a European expats/diasporas convention within the next two or three years.

After the meetings with the President of the European Court of Justice and a representative of the Belgian Conseil d’Etat (Supreme Court) on the possibility of monitoring ECJ case law rulings with consequences for the free movement of citizens, the ETTW has been invited to participate in an expert meeting organized by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) on October 10-11. The meeting is entitled ‘Living in another member state: barriers to EU citizens’ full enjoyment of their rights’ and will take place in the FRA premises in Vienna. A report from the meeting will be published in the ETTW News Service.

The EUROSTAT Social Statistics Conference in Luxembourg 28 – 30 November is progressing well. Migration statistics has as suggested by ETTW become an important subject for the conference and the ETTW’s proposal for speakers has been taken into account. As decided by the Board in June a request has been sent to Eurostat asking about the possibility of having a meeting room in Luxembourg for the ETTW GA and Board meeting on November 29th.

Contact: Steen Illeborg: 

Voting Rights and Working Group

Electronic voting 

The Working Groups have given special attention to the prioritized project of i-voting in European elections. 3

The Conference on internet voting (i-voting) organized by the ETTW in collaboration with MEP Monica Macovei on June 29th in the European Parliament was a success with ~ 100 participants from the EP, the Commission, member states and European organizations in the meeting room and many others following it on-line.

The Presentation of the ETTW underlined the need for i-voting for the +80 million European expats as a means of enhancing their democratic participation and facilitating their rights as European citizens. The two leading service providers – Smartmatic and SCYTL – as well as independent experts described how i-voting works in practice supported by concrete experiences from Estonia and France.

As a quick follow-up to the conference it is suggested to gather more input and ideas to pursue the implementation of this voting system in as many EU countries as possible before the European elections in 2019.

One proposal is to set up an “i-voting caravan” – a series of similar conferences or seminars in EU member states where support for such voting systems already exists (Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania etc.). Possible sponsors could be the private companies which are service providers in this field and/or MEPs from the respective countries.

Contact: Dorin Fleseriu <

Expats and Education 

The Skills Agenda for Europe has been published by the European Commission. An analysis of the document has been prepared for ETTW members, in particular on the way the contribution of ETTW has been taken into account as well as on the identification of new initiatives relevant for ETTW. For more detailed information see the document Skills Agenda for Europe.

A meeting has been held in Copenhagen with Danes Worldwide on the situation of recognition of the baccalaureate grade throughout the international and 4 national educational systems in Denmark. A small questionnaire has been prepared for ETTW members to assess if the identified problems are general or specific to Denmark.

Please have a look at the questionnaire Recognition of Scholar Grades. The ETTW would appreciate answers to the questions from members to be sent to Pierre Mairesse.

Regarding the planned meeting of networks of national schools abroad, European and International schools, contacts are ongoing (French network, German network, European schools..) but there is not yet the critical mass of participants to propose such a meeting to European Institutions (The European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions)

A draft inventory of those networks is ongoing in view of the consolidation by the European Agency in charge of the Eurydice.

Contact: Pierre Mairesse: 



News from member organisations 

Belgium – Vlamingen in de Wereld 

Extending the voting right 

The Belgian federal government has approved a bill that gives the Belgians abroad the opportunity to cast a vote for the regional and European elections.

Until today they can only vote for the federal elections. For the Flemish Parliament or European Parliament they have no voting rights, this adjustment 5

is not yet completed. The design requires a two-thirds majority, which the federal majority does not possess. The foundation ‘Flemings in the World’ has been striving for many years for these voting rights. There is also no reason to think why expatriates are allowed to vote for federal, but not for regional elections. Education, culture, trade promotion, research … these are regional matters that foreign diaspora in general are dealing with. Consider the financing of the education in Dutch abroad, a competence of the Flemish government.

From the coalition agreement: 

The government is aware of the specific interests of Belgians who permanently or temporarily live and work abroad. They want to strengthen their commitment to the policy of our country. The Government will work on the expansion of their voting rights in local and European elections. The government will also consider introducing a system of “e-voting” in the future regional, federal and European elections, and a simplification of the structure of the elections. ”

Contact: Koen Vanderschaeghe: 


Denmark – Danes Worldwide 

The Danish Diaspora – an untapped resource? 

Danes Worldwide has carried out a report in cooperation with the Copenhagen Goodwill Ambassadors Corps. It was presented on August 30th at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at a meeting devoted to discuss the opportunities of benefitting further from the Danish diaspora. Foreign Minister Mr. Kristian Jensen was present in the subsequent panel discussion.

Denmark estimates that 200.000 Danes (incl. children) live abroad and each year approximately 20.000 Danes return to Denmark. They represent one of the largest groups of ‘immigrants’ – and they have prior familiarity with Denmark’s culture and language. 6

The survey finding shows that expat Danes represent an untapped resource. One of the recommendations to the Government of Denmark is to set up a Ministry of Diaspora according to the Irish model.

Read the full report with its findings and recommendations here: 

The Danish Diaspora_an Untapped Resource: here

Furthermore Danes Worldwide has continued working with a number of their key priorities:

Fair conversation of IB grades to the Danish grading system 

Danes Worldwide met on September 1st with Minister of Research and Higher Education Ms. Ulla Tørnæs to discuss the current conversion scale, which by Danes Worldwide and thousands of Danes abroad is considered unfair to Danish IB students. The Minister listened attentively and informed that she is aware of the problem and has established a working group to evaluate the current system. The working group is expected to deliver its report by the end of the year. Danes Worldwide has offered its expertise in establishing a new scale for converting the IB grades into the Danish grading system.

Rules related to bringing foreign spouses to Denmark 

Danes Worldwide has met with members of the Danish Parliament to make them aware of the risk of losing Danish talent in the struggle to get sufficient qualified labor to Denmark. The new interpretation of rules for family reunification makes it increasingly difficult for non-EU spouses to get permission to enter Denmark. Danes Worldwide is working on this issue in cooperation with other organizations. Several meetings with parliamentarians are scheduled for the months to come.

Contact: Anne Marie Dalgaard – Danes Worldwide:


Sweden – Swedes Worldwide 

This year, Swedes Worldwide summer conference attracted great interest. With 170 people in the audience it attracted more listeners than ever. Ten Swedish and foreign journalists were also in place.

Secretary-General Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist began the day with a summary of what had been achieved during the past year and what are the plans to come.

The conference offered an interesting panel discussion about values, globalization, integration and cultural differences and what elements might constitute ‘Swedish identity’.

Anders Ahnlid, Sweden’s ambassador to the EU, shared his insights on what might be the consequences of Brexit for the EU – in particular in relation to the general process and the question of free movement.

The highlight was an intervention of the UN Special envoy, Staffan de Mistura who was elected International Swede of the Year 2016, speaking of the situation in Syria. He emphasized that we must never forget that behind every conflict there are people. In the evening the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström, gave a reception to the delegates at The Foreign Ministry.

You can see and hear the panel discussion and the speech of Staffan de Mistura at:

Contact: Karin Ehnbom-Palmquist: 


Italy – Friuli nel Mondo 

LAB International Communication 2016 

80 young scholars of Italian language studies coming from 32 countries on four continents reached last July Gemona del Friuli to follow the summer school of LAB from 21 of July to 12 August). 8

Among them, seven descendants of emigrants from Friuli residing in Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States arrived in the city with a scholarship funded by Ente Friuli nel Mondo (a member of ETTW) with the support of the Region Friuli Venezia Giulia.

The Lab, founded in Rome in 1963, sponsored by the Catholic University of Milan and the University of Udine, and supported by Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Province of Udine and the Municipality of Gemona is a summer school that has established itself internationally over the years as one of the most prestigious summer language courses and Italian culture.

Since its foundation, more than 3000 participants got to better know Italy throughout their presence in the Country.

The Lab is aimed at young foreign scholars, artists, professionals in the field of literary communication, film, theatre, journalism and the visual arts. Participants are good practitioners of the Italian language and show interest to be updated on the contemporary Italian reality.

Each year, the Lab reflects on a topical issue of the “Bel Paese” and brave the many points of view. In 2016 the theme was “LANDSCAPE AND TASTE”.

The theme has been addressed according to the keywords that the Lab has identified: made in Italy, food, taste, landscape (innovation, enterprise, social technologies, social media), terms that represent intrinsic vocations of the Italian’s culture.

In the year of the 40th anniversary of the earthquake in Friuli, the Lab has also dedicated many initiatives the theme, linking it to issues of the environment, sustainability and landscape management.

Contact: Christian Canciani: 



News from Partner organisations and other sources 

French Roundtable on Brexit impact 

The National Assembly has created an information mission on the action of the British referendum and monitoring the negotiations, chaired by President Claude Bartolone.

The mission began its work on Wednesday 21 September and will finish the end of February 2017.

In this framework, it organizes a roundtable on Thursday, October 20 at the National Assembly on the impact of Brexit on the rights and benefits of European and British citizens.

Global Lithuanian Leaders 

NEW Program: Investment Ambassadors GLL in cooperation with Invest Lithuania started initiative Lithuanian Investment Ambassadors. It is designed to bring together Lithuania-connected most successful and experienced international professionals who would connect Invest Lithuania with global companies and advise on how to better attract foreign direct investment as well as how to improve existing investment environment in Lithuania. The initiative has been inspired by success stories of international investments attracted to Lithuania by diaspora members. Read more and watch video here


New Europeans 

New Europeans is a civil rights organisation championing European citizenship, free movement and non-discrimination in Europe.

In the light of the Brexit vote in the UK, they will be moving their European headquarters to co-locate with EETW at Maison des Associations Internationales, Rue Washington 40, 1050 Bruxelles from November.

As far as the work in the UK is concerned, this is being stepped up in order to cope with the new challenges facing EU citizens following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

The work of New Europeans is currently focused in three areas:

  • Campaigning for the long-term status of EU citizens (and Brits abroad) to be settled before Article 50 is triggered and Brexit negotiations begin.
  • Building a nationwide alliance of migrant organisations, trade unions and charities to counters race and hate crime which has risen sharply since 23 June.
  • Continuing to fight for the right to freedom of movement and a better-informed debate about migration within the EU.

An All-party Parliamentary group on Freedom of Movement in the UK parliament has been set up which is chaired by Tom Brake MP. New Europeans has also lobbied the Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly, House of Commons and European Parliament on all of the above issues. They have also launched New Europeans Scotland with branches in Edinburgh and Glasgow and a new branch in Brighton, England.

Further details about the campaign for EU citizens can be found here.

Recent lobby of European Parliament President Martin Schulz MP can be found here:

Intensive meeting agenda 

New Europeans has been taking an active part in many meetings and conference to promote common European values and shared priorities, including:

  • 12 September: European Citizenship Awards Ceremony, organised by Volonteurop and European Civic Forum and which took place in London
  • 8 September (3 days): Hopenothate Summer Camp, Hopenothate is the charity that was ver
  • 29 August (3 days): ECIT Summer University on European Citizenship, organised by Tony Venables at the MAI In Brussels

Roger Casale, founder and CEO, will be a participant at the following conferences between now and the end of the year:

  • 24- 25 October: Anna Lindh Foundation Euro-Mediterranean Conference – Valetta, Malta
  • 3-5 November: EuroDefence Presidents’ Conference, Paris, France
  • 1-2 December: Europe’s Strategic Choices, Chatham House and University of Kiel, Berlin

In addition, Roger Casale will be speaking in a number of EU member states on the consequences of Brexit both in terms of EU citizenship rights and in terms of the challenge posed by Brexit and many other issues to the future stability and sustainability of the EU. For more information or to request Roger as a speaker at an event please contact

Contacts: New European’s campaigns and events are listed on: 

American Citizens Abroad (ACA) 

Membership Update

ACA supports the Congress’s efforts to stop foreign donations to affect U.S. elections. However, legislation should be written to ensure that Americans overseas who want to donate to election campaigns are not shut out of the process. HR 4177 “Stop Foreign Donations Affecting Our Elections Act”, introduced by Representative Gosar (R-AZ) on December 3, 2015 with 81 co-sponsors, includes a provision stating that, for credit card donations made via the internet, the credit card used must be linked to a US billing address. TSo address the lack of a U.S. billing address for Americans overseas, the legislation calls for having Americans resident overseas include their voting address in lieu of a US billing address. See: ACA is working on educating the legislature on alternatives. Let your Representatives in Congress know how you feel about this legislation by writing to them today.

Contact:        ACA News: 

 Annual AEMI conference in Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), Spain 

This year the annual AEMI conference will be held in Santiago de Compostela, from September the 28th to October the 1st. The gathering will be organized by the local partner organization, the Galician Migration Archive-Council of Galician Culture. Representing the Basque Government, the director of the Office for the Basque Community Abroad, Asier Vallejo Itsaso, and an officer for the aforementioned office will attend the Conference. The conference will be about European migrant diasporas and cultural identities. It will be developed in six sessions, on subjects connected with diasporas all around the world, such as: diasporas and cultural identities in migration processes; migrant networks, associations and the reproduction of cultural identities; dilemmas of assimilation 13

and acculturation in migration processes; mobilization of migrant communities; migration studies and identity issues; migration center and their contribution to multiculturalism; how AEMI institutions respond to migrations crisis in Europe; connecting migrations and languages; refugee crisis.

The Association of European Migration Institutions is a network of forty organizations located in Europe and working on the history of migrations in Europe, and on the literature produced on this topic. The AEMI was founded in Germany in 1991 and made up of institutions and organizations in Europe whose field of interest concern European migration in the past and in the present. They have joined together to establish The Association of European Migration Institutions, (AEMI).




Interesting Reading 

Changing International Mobility Trends 

The international mobility has long been considered as skilled professionals moving to emerging markets, with attractive relocation packages and high salaries. Hence moving abroad

for professional reasons was either to be proposed or imposed by companies.

Recently, there has been a trend of people who choose to move abroad, the self-initiated expatriates. According to the 2016 Crown World Mobility survey on global mobility trends, the number of self-initiated expatriates has increased, especially among the Generation Y. Self-initiated expatriation 14

requires meticulous preparation and effective job hunt strategies. Unlike for professional international assignments, the duration of the expatriation is not defined and self-initiated expatriates are likely to be recruited abroad with the same contract terms’ as a local.

International mobility at the core of 

50% of our members are expatriates while 45% are future expatriates. Among these members, for 45%, work is the main reason for moving abroad. members – Breakdown by professional status



Mobility 2016 trends 

What are the most attractive destinations for expats in 2016? The Mercer 2016 Quality of Living Rankings survey highlights the following:

  • 4 West European cities (Vienna, Munich, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt) are in the top 10 of most attractive destinations,
  • Luxembourg is ranked number one in terms of security,
  • Singapore appears to be the key destination in Asia,
  • The United-States and the United Kingdom are no longer key destinations for expats (both further down in the rankings – not in the top 25).

Read more (control,click) Contact : “” <>



Upcoming Events 

12 October – “Practical ways for local communities to foster inclusion of mobile citizens”. Organised by the European Commission -DG Justice and Consumers-during the “Open Days” in Brussels. The workshop will address important challenges regarding access to housing, the labour market and education, and social, political and civic inclusion. Three European cities (Brussel Amsterdam and Copenhagen) will present their project on “Local Welcoming Policies” that brings together the cities of Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Gothenburg and Hamburg in an effort to support the fundamental right of EU citizens to freely move, work and live in any EU country. Information and registration:; the workshop number is: 12B85

28-30 November “Towards More Agile Social statistics”. Conference organized by EUROSTAT in Luxemburg. ETTW participation.

Further information about the conference can be found at: 




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