This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 320294

EU

EU Citizenship Teaching Packages for secondary school pupils (Deliverable 11.6)

In this paper we present the outline of a series of five teaching packages for secondary school pupils in the age group of 14-16/17. These teaching packages all address a specific dimension of EU citizenship. More attention for EU Citizenship is relevant for several reasons. It first refers to the set of civil, political, economic and social rights that all citizens of EU countries possess in addition to the rights that come with their national citizenship. Secondly, it refers to the membership of a European political community in which each citizen of an EU country can participate actively; next to or intertwined with, being active in a local or national political community.

One of the conclusions from a comparative study of civic education in 7 EU-countries (D8.10 bEUcitizen), is that adolescents are hardly educated in what their EU citizenship rights are, nor are they trained in competencies to realize or enforce these rights. Parallel to this, young adults leave secondary school without being taught the civic and political competencies to participate in the variety of political communities on different levels they belong to.

EU citizenship is relevant when you stay in your country of origin and in the town you grew up in. For instance, in one’s role as a consumer. Furthermore, political participation manifests itself on the local level in different forms. On the one hand, during elections: local, regional, national or European. On the other hand, in many forms of collective action by citizens who organize themselves in protest movements, around opinion leaders in the public sphere, interest groups and NGOs. Often when there is a European dimension, the action starts at the local level. For that reason, it is important that citizens both understand their rights and that a more lively European public sphere emerges. As a result, we choose to develop teaching materials for secondary school pupils that contribute to the EU dimension of their civic competencies.

With these teaching packages we do not intend to lobby for or create support for EU citizenship. Our goal is to make EU citizenship visible in a realistic way, showing concrete relevance not only for ‘movers’ but especially for those who stay at home; show how EU citizenship is directly related to one’s daily life and how one can influence these choices.

After having outlined the goals, target group and didactics, in the appendix a summary of the five teaching packages are presented:

  1. Getting my rights: Europeanization at home
  2. Lobbying and getting in touch with the EU
  3. Organizing our interest
  4. Travelling around
  5. Advising the EU in solving Global Problems

Read the paper here

Scenarios for EU citizenship in 2030 – Repertoires for action in thinkable futures (Deliverable 11.5)

Authors: Wieger Bakker and Marlot van der Kolk

European Union (EU) citizenship is both about a legal status – a set of civil, social, economic and political rights complementing one’s national citizenship – and about being an active participating member of the EU political community. EU citizenship includes therefore influencing decisionmaking on rules, policies and practices that effect one’s own national and local societies. The opportunities and capacities to exercise these rights and to participate differ between countries, between groups and in time. Social, cultural and economic trends, national or regional crises, as well as national and EU policy responses to these trends and crises, create potentially new inequalities, new barriers, but possibly new opportunities too. Although we cannot predict the future, we can prepare ourselves for different thinkable futures. Through this study we intend to feed the discussion on what might happen with EU citizenship in different circumstances. Moreover, by doing so we also want to stimulate the discussion on what repertoires of action by which actors in what circumstances might protect, foster or boost EU citizenship in these alternative futures.

With that in mind, we conducted a scenario study. A scenario is a story about how the future might unfold for organizations, issues, nations or even for the world. The scenario method is originated in the military sphere and was adapted and further developed by consulting firms and companies in the 1950s and 1960s. Pioneering work was conducted in the 1970s by the oil company Shell (Meinert, 2014, p.8). According to Shell (2008, pp.12-19), a scenario study should be carried out to (1) confront assumptions, (2) recognise degrees of uncertainty, (3) widen perspectives, and (4) address dilemmas and conflicts. Over the years, many companies as well as public organisations and governments confronted with the necessity of long-term investment or strategic decisions in a rapidly changing environment followed Shell’s example and started to utilise scenarios for their strategy developments.

Based on the outcomes of the bEUcitizen project and five scenario workshops, we developed four thinkable future scenarios for how the EU, or the part of Europe which now is the EU, might look like in 12 to 15 years (and beyond). These scenarios are not predictions, preferences or forecasts for the future. The scenarios represent plausible, relevant and challenging possibilities, and are a starting point for thinking about possible implications for EU citizenship as well as repertoires of action. In the workshops more than sixty researchers, students and (young) professionals were engaged. Together we looked into how the future might unfold for EU citizenship: how might the world look like in 2030 and what could this mean for EU citizenship? Is it likely that EU citizenship will change, will become broader, more specific, and more exclusive or not survive at all? Who will be more or less vulnerable? What in those different situations should and can be done by whom to safeguard EU citizenship or the values it stands for? What repertoire of action is needed and/or is possible in different circumstances and who is able to perform these actions? In this report we present a synthesis of the insights gained from the scenario workshops as well as the outcomes of the bEUcitizen project.

 

Download the report here

Gender and generational dimensions in accessing to Social Rights by EU mobile citizens (Deliverable 9.2)

Authors: Luppi MatteoSantero AriannaNaldini ManuelaKnijn Trudie

This study investigates, from a gender and generational perspective, the actual possibilities and impediments that EU mobile citizens experience in their access to social rights. The report covers a wide spectrum of welfare regimes and migration regimes by including twelve EU and non-EU countries. A review of the gender and intergenerational issues concerning access by EU mobile citizens to social rights is presented by looking at both national and EU laws. Increased intra-EU migration has led to greater interest in EU citizens’ entitlements to public benefits. Because many of these entitlements have been maintained under the national jurisdictions, selective criteria as means to prevent welfare tourism have been implemented by many countries. Gender and intergenerational issues are not directly addressed. However, access to these rights mostly depends on meeting requirements or possessing economic resources, which may be indirectly related to gender and generation as long as they are based on the applicants’ employment position. Therefore, because in many countries migrant women are employed in disadvantaged labour market positions, they are at greater risk of encountering practical barriers in meeting the requirements for social rights entitlements. Also young EU (mobile) citizens, when they move to other Member States for study purposes, may encounter obstacles in accessing some social rights if they do not fulfil certain requirements.

 

Download the report here

The European Ombudsman: democratic empowerment or democratic deficit? (Deliverable 8.9)

Authors: Tom Binder, Marco Inglese and Frans van Waarden

This deliverable analyses the impact of the European Ombudsman in the European Union’s democratic life through his power to investigate cases of maladministration committed by European institutions. Accordingly, this deliverable is structured as follows.

The first part is devoted to explore the creation of the European Ombudsman, the rationale behind his establishment, and the development of this ‘personalised’ body. The report then moves to an assessment of the European Ombudsman’s investigative powers, coupled with a specific focus on the relations with his national peers. This section then proceeds by highlighting quantitative data on the complaints lodged to the European Ombudsman since his creation.

The second part verifies whether the European Ombudsman constitutes a case of democratic empowerment. Indeed, an assessment of the European Ombudsman’s body of decisions shows that he is more and more acting not only as a ‘watchdog’ of European institutions but even of European agencies.

The third part provides a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the personal, geographical origin and subject matter of complaints complemented by the targets of inquiries. In particular, citizens of some States are more active than other in submitting a complaint, the Commission is still the most targeted institution, while the major allegation of maladministration pertains to access to documents and lack of transparency.

The fourth part investigates possible barriers that European citizens might encounter in lodging a complaint to the European Ombudsman. In this respect, considering the lack of locus standi before the European Ombudsman and the fact that the proceedings is free of charge and can be conducted in the language chosen by the applicant, we argue that there are no barriers to be overcome.

The fifth part, through an assessment of the few cases decided by the European Court of Justice and considering the specific relationship the European Ombudsman has with the Parliament, seeks to position him with the so-called trias politica.

In conclusion, this deliverable argues that the European Ombudsman has had and will have a positive impact on the democratic life of the European Union, has been successful in fostering the accountability of European institutions and will have a key role in monitoring future developments affecting European citizens.

 

Download the report here

Research paper on Cross-task analysis: “The practical linguistic barriers faced by economically active EU citizens” (D5.6)

Multilingualism shapes the European cultural identity as well as its legal system. Nonetheless, some aspects of the EU’s plurilingual character do not simply represent a cultural enrichment, but are also of crucial importance in dealing with the exercise of European citizenship rights and may turn into practical hindrances to their full enjoyment. At the same time linguistic diversity in Europe is constantly increasing due to mobility and new immigration phenomena, and to the strengthening of individual and collective language rights (also linked to the protection of national linguistic minorities, such as, for instance, parity of languages, right to use one’s own language in oral and written relationships with the public administration and with judicial authorities, etc.).

This Deliverable aims to provide a systematic survey of the linguistic barriers arisen from the multilingual drafting of EU law, as well as from some national contexts with specific reference to the exercise of EU citizens’ economic rights.

From the latter perspective, the research will describe how a lack of a clear linguistic policy might transform the regulations of language use into barriers to the effectiveness of EU citizens’ rights. The analysis is carried out from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective and deals with, on the one hand, the linguistic obstacles affecting the main fields of survey on economic rights chosen by the project (professionals, consumer rights and IPR) and, on the other hand, some specific linguistic barriers autonomously highlighted by national reports as particularly challenging in a given Member States.

 

Read the report here

2016 Report on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

The European Commission has recently published the 2016 Report on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The report outlines the initiatives taken in 2016 by the EU to strengthen fundamental rights for the benefit of people in the EU. It also looks at how these rights were applied across a range of EU policies and in the Member States in 2016.

You can read the full report here

For more information, visit the EC Justice and Consumers webpage here

Report on ‘Israel: Religion and Ethnicity as Basis for Different Minority Rights’ (D4.8)

The Israeli citizenship regime is a moving target. Some basic social, ethnic and political divisions which are captured by the categories of nationality, ethnicity, class, gender and religiosity are redefined by day-to-day administrative, regulatory and political processes. In these ways, Israeli citizenship is not so much a matter of constitutional debates on abstract rights of all or parts of the citizenry, it is also and more importantly, a manifestation of regulatory processes. The basic divisions are explored here with regard to a newly defined “credit ranking” regime which has been constructed by various state actors during the past two decades. This regime promotes the establishment of a new kind of citizenship, a financial citizenship. As part of its activity, each citizen is categorized according to his or her ‘financial worth’, and their personal financial profile is constructed as a device for identifying, locating and classifying targeted populations. Under these information markets citizens are no longer seen as individual customers, but as varying degrees of commercial risks and revenues. The new regime is expected to enhance competition in the highly centralized banking sector and encourage more competitions in this field. In this sense, these market-building initiatives are part of an extension of the credit based culture (or Financialization) of Israeli citizenship. The research, which is the first academic research on this issue in Israel, analyzes the policy process and extends the discussion around it by analyzing the economic, social and political aspects of Israeli citizenship in general and regarding minority and disadvantaged groups in particular.

For the full text please click here

 

 

 

 

 

Report on Croatia: A Serbian Minority Inside and a Croatian Diaspora Outside? (D4.7)

The existing research on the Croatian citizenship defines several stages of the development of the Croatian citizenship regime (Ragazzi & Štiks 2009; Djuric 2010; Štiks 2010b; Koska 2011; 2012; Ragazzi, Štiks & Koska 2013; Baričević & Hoffman 2014). The first decade of Croatian independence was marked by the disputes over the status dimension of citizenship, where the criteria for the membership in the newly formed citizenry had to be defined. Within this stage, the generous provisions for the inclusion of ethnic Croats regardless their residency have been enacted, while the provisions for exclusion of certain categories of non-Croat ethnic residents were implemented. The second stage which literature perceives to have start in 2000 (Petričušić 2004; Jović & Lamont 2010; Djuric 2010; Štiks 2010b; Koska 2012) was marked by liberalization of the discussions over the rights dimension of Croatian citizenship. The final stage involves the changes and impact on the Croatian citizenship regime that emerged in the aftermath of the Croatian membership to EU. Since Croatia has been an EU member state for only three years, the exploration of the changes of the Croatian citizenship regime with the EU have not been addressed so far. The task of this study is to explore the key political debates that emerged in the context of the previous developments of the Croatian citizenship regime.

Throughout all three stages, idea of membership to EU played a very important role in Croatian project of nation and statehood building; during the 1990s it was perceived as a long term guarantee of Croatian sovereignty, statehood stability and economic prosperity. The 2000s until the accession were marked by democratic changes and the legislative reification of the discriminatory policies and shortcoming of the regime of the 1990s, which were largely influenced by the meeting the requirements of the EU accession, which was set as the primary national priority and goal. The last stage, which have started in the eve of the accession and continued till today, is marked by the return of the identity disputes regarding the Croatian state and the membership identity. As this report will highlight, the first three years of EU membership did not build on the previous decades’ accomplishments of more inclusionary policies towards minorities; instead, Croatia has witnessed the revival of the nationalist discourse which is today in the media often framed under the term ‘conservative revolution’.

 

For the full report click here.

 

 

 

 

Constraints imposed by financial markets on political choice in the EU (D8.1)

This report outlines an analytical framework through which constraints imposed by financial markets on decision-making in the European Union (EU) both at the national and at the EU level can be understood in the context of the latest economic and financial crisis. The report departs from the notion of ‘political citizenship’ as an analytical device for understanding how financial market constraints are reflected in political decisions and discusses in how far such constraints restrict or are compatible with European political citizenship rights. This aspect remains an under-studied element of EU decision-making. The report concludes that the question of in how far financial markets constrain political decision-making cannot be treated separately from understanding how financial market developments are translated into specific policy options by executive and legislative decision-makers in the context of the decentralised and multi-level economic governance architecture of the euro area. In this context a small transnational elite group of senior civil servants and central bank officials plays a particular role as they interpret financial market developments and map out policy options for elected executive and legislative decision-makers. This report is related to the bEUcitizenship report ‘Democratic parliamentary control in times of crisis’ which covers a comparative case study on four different countries which is built upon the framework advanced in this report.

Click here for the full text: D8.1 FINAL

CASE STUDY (II) ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN THE CONTEXT OF THE MEDIA (D7.4)

The objective of WP7 is to study, from the perspective of EU citizenship, specific problems EU citizens face in exercising civil rights and liberties in areas which fall within the scope of EU law, but also in areas beyond the scope of EU law. In the EU legal context, fundamental rights, including civil rights, have gained not only visibility but also, arguably, significance,
now that the Lisbon Treaty has made the Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding.

Media freedom and policy in the EU in general has been widely researched and studied, focusing largely on the areas less directly relevant for citizens, i.e. television and radio broadcasting, media regulators, etc. This case study therefore focuses on tackling barriers in an area more relevant for individual citizens’ freedom of expression, referred to as citizens’ journalism. This is a new field of practice and research, where conceptual clarifications are needed and which calls for further research into the application and evolution of legal and procedural frameworks, in line with changing journalism landscape (blogs, online comments, etc).

The Council of the European Union adopted Guidelines on freedom of expression online and offline for its external policy, while it does not have such guidelines internally, for its member states. Internally, freedom of expression is not strongly under the radar. There has been a discussion whether the mutual recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters should not apply to defamation cases, since there is so much divergence. At the end, this has not become the case, therefore the strong substantive divergences remain, and need to be mutually recognized, with all resulting problems with forum shopping, and a potential race to the bottom.
This report’s initial understanding of citizen journalist has deliberately been an uncircumscribed one, in order not to impose an arbitrary, potentially too narrow concept on the different legal orders examined in this task. Therefore, the questionnaire was drafted to screen all possible forms of citizen journalism, such as blogs, social media, comments, wiki contributions, and had asked specific questions about their status, responsibility, sanctions on their own, and in comparison to a generally perceived category of journalism if there is one in the given legal system.
Citizen journalism is generally seen to provide an important avenue for political participation, the political engagement of citizens between elections, and the reinvigoration of a sense of authenticity or belonging. In an era of mistrust in both domestic and EU political institutions, republicanism is gaining appeal: scholarship has already recognized the need with regard to citizen journalism specifically, Ian Cram wrote a whole book on citizen journalism from the republican perspective. If there is any chance that the internet creates a truly republican “digital commons” so many hope for, it would certainly not be possible without citizen journalists. Equally, any prospect that EU citizens develop or further develop a transnational political discourse or an European public opinion or political public as Habermas would argue, presupposes citizen journalists writing on it. In this sense, citizen journalists writing on EU issues appear to be a necessary (though naturally insufficient) condition for more political, social, or in any sense thicker (post/or beyond-market) version of EU citizenship, both in practice and conceptually.
The so conceived ideal of citizen journalism would promote these more ambitious ideals of European citizenship and democracy. This is not to deny that activities looking like citizen journalism might of course harm others or might go beyond the scope of freedom of expression, and violate privacy rights or spread hate messages, and so on. There is some literature observing that citizen journalism might run the risks of bad journalism (hate speech, misinformation, etc.) to a larger extent than professional journalism. The initial understanding of this paper however was not to form any view on that. The risks generally do not seem to outweigh the massive legitimacy and other political-moral gains a more engaged transnational citizenry would bring to the European project. Furthermore, there was no indication that courts would be less willing to grant protection against violations of privacy, equality or dignity if caused by citizen journalists. This deliverable undertakes to check what the legal conditions are under which they operate, and whether there is convergence or divergence between different EU countries’ legal orders in this regard.

 

Please read the deliverable here: Deliverable7.4