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: Commission proposes 12 new actions to boost citizens’ rights

The European Commission has today unveiled a new push to reinforce EU citizens’ rights with a series of actions to tackle obstacles that citizens still face in their everyday life. The 2013 EU Citizenship Report sets out 12 concrete ways to help Europeans make better use of their EU rights, from looking for a job in another EU country to ensuring stronger participation in the democratic life of the Union. Key proposals include making it easier for people to work and do training in another EU country; reducing excessive paperwork for EU citizens living and travelling in the EU; and eliminating barriers to cross-border shopping. During the European Year of Citizens the EU Citizenship Report is the Commission’s answer to the numerous calls from EU citizens who have shared problems they have experienced when travelling, moving to or shopping in another EU country.

“EU citizenship is the crown jewel of European integration. It is to Political Union what the euro is to our Economic and Monetary Union. Today’s Citizenship Report places EU citizens centre stage,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. “Ever since it was first included in the Treaties in 1993, EU citizenship has been evolving – but it is not yet mature: people still face obstacles exercising their rights in everyday life. We receive over 1 million enquiries every year from citizens on issues that relate to their rights. That is why today we are taking action to reinforce citizens’ rights in everyday situations, like looking for a job, shopping online or taking part in European decision-making.”

Two decades since the Treaty of Maastricht laid down EU citizenship rights, these rights are not always a reality in people’s everyday lives. This has been confirmed by EU citizens in a wide-ranging public consultation on EU Citizenship (IP/12/461) where 12 000 EU citizens gave examples of bureaucratic hurdles they still face for example when exercising their right to free movement. Eurobarometer surveys on citizenship (IP/13/119) and electoral rights (IP/13/215), a series of direct Citizens’ dialogues with national and European politicians as well as a large numbers of queries from the public about EU rights received through the Europe Direct information service confirm that more needs to be done. The Commission is responding to these concerns.

In the context of the financial and sovereign debt crisis, hurdles for citizens who want to look for qualified jobs in other EU countries or which deter them from buying goods across the internal market, need to be addressed. This is all the more relevant as the EU moves towards a genuine Economic and Monetary Union with a political union on the horizon.

The EU Citizenship Report 2013 announces 12 new actions in six areas to strengthen citizens’ rights (see Annex for the full list of the 12 actions):

  1. Removing obstacles for workers, students and trainees in the EU
  1. by looking into extending the right of jobseekers to receive unemployment benefits from their home country while they are looking for a job in another EU member state beyond the current mandatory three months to increase the mobility of workers; and
  2. by setting out a quality framework for traineeships that specifies the rights and obligations of the parties making sure that traineeships are not used as a form of ‘unpaid employment’
  1. Cutting red tape in the Member States
  1. by facilitating the acceptance of identity and residence documents when citizens want to travel or have to prove their identity in another EU country, including through optional uniform European documents that citizens could use in all EU countries; and
  2. by making it easier to recognise roadworthiness certificates for cars cross-border in the EU
  1. Protecting the more vulnerable in the EU
  1. by developing an EU disability card to be mutually recognised across the EU making sure that the 80 million disabled people can also take advantage of the benefits that come with national cards (for example access to transport, tourism, culture and leisure) when exercising their right to free movement; and
  2. by proposing a set of laws to further strengthen citizens’ procedural rights, especially those of children and vulnerable citizens, when they are suspected or accused of a crime
  1. Eliminating barriers to shopping in the EU
  1. by improving rules to settle cross-border disputes over small amounts when buying products online or in another EU country; the European Small Claims procedure can help consumers get their money back swiftly; and
  2. by working on an online tool that makes the purchase of digital products more transparent and that allows citizens to compare deals cross-border
  1. Promoting the availability of targeted and accessible information about the EU
  1. by making e-training tools available to local administrations and providing citizen-friendly information about who to turn to to solve their problems.
  1. Strengthening citizens’ participation in the democratic process
  1. by working on ways to enable EU citizens to keep their right to vote in national elections in their country of origin. The practice in some Member States of depriving their citizens of their right to vote once they move to another EU country effectively is tantamount to punishing citizens for having exercised their right to free movement.

The EU Citizenship Report forms the centrepiece of the 2013 European Year of Citizens and also takes stock of progress since the first Citizenship Report in 2010 (see IP/10/1390 and MEMO/10/525) – with the Commission delivering on the 25 action items announced in October 2010.

The initiative comes as the Commission adopts the latest report on the application of the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights (see IP/13/411 andMEMO/13/411), including citizens’ rights such as the right to personal data protection. It is also accompanied by a report looking at progress made towards more effective EU citizenship, a track-record of enforcing EU citizens’ rights, such as free movement, political rights or consular protection, and fighting discrimination on the grounds of nationality.

For the full presrelease and backgroun documents, click here.

The Image(s) of the ‘Consumer’ in EU Law: Legislation, Free Movement and Competition Law

St Anne’s College, Oxford, 27-28 March 2014

 

How many visions of the consumer there are in EU law, and are they consistent and sincere, or merely instrumental to the achievement of other goals? Are the different types of ‘consumer’ we find scattered across EU law apt reflection of rich diversity or do they create a troublingly chaotic landscape? Discussing these questions is particularly timely a few years after the Treaty of Lisbon, which reformed Union objectives to include a ‘social market economy’ and vested the Charter of Fundamental Rights, elevating ‘consumer protection’ to the status of a fundamental right, with a binding force. Conference papers will discuss the concepts of ‘consumer welfare’, ‘consumer protection’ and ‘consumer interest’ in different contexts of EU law: legislation, free movement and competition law, and reflect on whether there should be common assumptions, principles and trends running through EU law.

 

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Albertina Albors-Llorens (University of Cambridge)

Professor Hugh Beale (University of Warwick)

Professor Gareth Davies (VU University Amsterdam)

Professor Graeme Dinwoodie (University of Oxford)

Dr Dev Gangjee (London School of Economics)

Professor Stefan Grundmann (Humbolt University and European University Institute)

Professor Chris Hodges (University of Oxford)

Mr Angus Johnston (University of Oxford)

Professor Alison Jones (King’s College London)

Dr Dorota Leczykiewicz (University of Oxford)

Dr Vanessa Mak (Tilburg University)

Professor Hans Micklitz (European University Institute)

Dr Lucinda Miller (University College London)

Professor Iain Ramsay (University of Kent)

Professor Norbert Reich (University of Bremen)

Professor Christian Twigg-Flesner (University of Hull)

Professor Sybe de Vries (Utrecht University)

Professor Stephen Weatherill (University of Oxford)

 

Registration fee £ 95.00

Reduced fee for full-time registered students £ 45.00

Conference dinner £ 66.00 (optional)

 

Conference website, including registration: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/event=12668

Conference: The EU and the promise of democracy: What can Citizenship Education and Civil Society contribute?

14-16 November 2013, The Hague (The Netherlands)

16.10.2013

“In our days the task to encourage citizenship seems to be more relevant than ever. I’m sure that all the partners and stakeholders involved in the NECE initiative – like us in ProDemos – feel the urgency of citizenship education in their everyday efforts. Even more so as the crisis all over Europe puts societies under pressure and throws up challenge after challenge for democracy. The European Year of Citizens 2013 underlines the importance of involving people in all our countries in the European project. So there are many reasons to focus in this year`s NECE Conference – which will take place a few months before the EP elections on 22-25 May 2014 – on citizenship education from a European perspective.*The societal and political debate concerning the future shape of the EU is entering a crucial phase. In the recent hectic years of crisis management more and more decisions have been taken by fewer and fewer co-players in the democratic machine called Europe. According to recent surveys, many citizens now take a critical or even hostile stance towards the European Union, as it seems to have nothing to offer them but austerity and social sacrifices. National and populist feelings demonstrate the extent of a great collective uncertainty in European societies. We believe European Citizenship educators are facing at least two major challenges resulting from this state of the European Union.

Firstly, Europe’s ongoing economic crisis has engendered a crisis of confidence in the European project and the costs and benefits of further European integration. Fewer and fewer citizens are prepared to transfer power and competences to ‘Europe’. The democratic deficit of the European Union (once hidden by the ‘implicit consensus’ of European citizens in the early decades of the EU) has now become more and more visible and contributes to the backlash in support for the EU.
Secondly, the economic crisis is dividing Europe and may ultimately lead to the break up of the EU. Centrifugal forces are pulling European public opinion apart, separating the French from the Germans and the Germans from everyone else. The southern nations of Spain, Italy and Greece are becoming ever more estranged as evidenced by their frustration with Brussels, Berlin and the perceived unfairness of the economic system.

This is where the central questions begin that will be the focus of NECE 2013. “Participation Now!” was the motto of NECE 2012 in Córdoba (Spain), which concentrated on dialogue with grassroot movements of the Arab Spring. With an eye to the elections to the European Parliament in May 2014, NECE 2013 will continue to explore the topics of participation and democratisation and focus on the EU’s democratic deficit. However, deploring the democratic deficit in the EU is one thing. Citizenship education, on the other hand, must critically examine its European policy campaigns and projects in terms of their coverage and effectiveness. And it should concentrate more on the criticism and doubts of frustrated European citizens. The conference in The Hague will offer opportunities for a critical debate on four levels:

1. Scenarios and outlines for the future of the EU
We will discuss scenarios for the future of the EU with European experts. Key questions will be the following:

  • What type of a Europe do we want?
  • How do alternative future concepts for the EU look like?
  • What economic and political problems need to be overcome?
  • What will define a ‘European citizen’ of the 21st century?
  • Will transnational spheres of life and experiences such as new mobility and migration patterns create a ‘European identity’? and
  • What role can the EU play in a world that will be mainly defined by non-European states and societies in the next 30 years?
  • How can dialogues and co-operation with the neighbours in the Mediterranean region, in particular North Africa’s transformation states, be organised?

2. European civil society and the ‘democratic deficit’ of the European Union
Key questions will be the following:

  • How can citizenship initiatives and other civil society alliances bring their social and political interests into the political process at the European level?
  • What options will arise as a result of the upcoming European Parliament elections in June 2014?
  • What should be the next steps on the way to a democratisation of the EU?
  • What recommendations and demands are of crucial importance?

3. Role of citizenship education in the European crisis
Key questions will be the following:

  • How can citizenship education contribute to the repoliticization of the European debate and illustrate Europe’s plurality?
  • What are the prerequisites?
  • Do we need a common understanding of European citizenship education?
  • Can a transnationally active citizenship education work together with civil society initiatives in order to restore confidence in democracy and help to overcome the democratic deficit?
  • What role is attached to citizenship education by EU institutions and how are young people in particular prepared for their role as EU citizens?

4. Practical approaches and projects of citizenship education 
Key questions will be the following:

  • What practical approaches and instruments can be used to broaden the debate surrounding Europe and the crisis and to close the participation gap?
  • How can citizenship education across Europe accompany the elections to the European Parliament?
  • What role will approaches such as Vote Match as a transnational accompaniment to European election campaigns play?

Opportunities to actively take part will be provided in numerous workshops and forums. At the end of the conference, the participants will draw up a public ‘Conference Paper’ comprising recommenda-tions on the topic of democratisation and participation in the EU.

The NECE Initiative invites education specialists, activists from social movements and multipliers from the fields of politics and business to The Hague to discuss and debate the new common responsibilities for citizenship education and civil society in the EU.

For more information and registration, click here.

Second European Social Innovation Competition

Do you have an idea to fight high unemployment? Do you think you could improve the working conditions of people stuck in low-paid jobs – whether because of their gender, age, social status or handicap? Do you know how to enhance opportunities for the 27 million Europeans currently out of work? Then the second European Social Innovation Competition is for you!

The Competition, launched in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, invites Europeans to come up with new solutions to reduce unemployment and minimize its corrosive effects on the economy and our society both now and in the future. Social innovation is not only desirable, it is necessary.

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t found the right investor for your ideas yet. We can help you bring your project to life as part of our Social Innovation Academy. The three winning projects will be awarded financial support of EUR 30,000.

But there’s more. Winners of the first edition emphasize that the Competition has given them the chance to develop a great idea, to bring legitimacy to their work, and last but not least, to make their solution accessible to more people.

Don’t keep your great ideas to yourself. As one of the winners says: “Should you have an idea, work on it and take your chance. The same could happen to you. You could end up winning.”

Deadline for the first round: December 11, 2013

For more infomation, click here.

CITIZENSHIP, NARRATIVE AND NEO/COLONIAL HISTORIES

Symposium: CITIZENSHIP, NARRATIVE AND NEO/COLONIAL HISTORIES. Organised jointly by the Postcolonial Literatures Research Group and the Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism Research Project at the Open University.

The symposium addresses narratives of citizenship as a political category in colonial and neo/colonial contexts. Citizenship has been a subject of renewed interest in the social sciences over the past two decades and has generated a
proliferating body of theory which reflects on its political-historical genealogy, its emergence from a limited concept of membership to the nation-state, and its viability as a continually re-enacted political identity. In cultural history, literary criticism and postcolonial studies, however, the engagement with citizenship has been less immediate, as studies
of the neo/colony have retained broader terms such as identity, ethnicity, subjectivity, nation and cosmopolitanism as favoured critical categories.
This one-day symposium seeks to re-situate citizenship at the heart of current critical debates and asks how new ‘civic’ reading strategies might illuminate the politics of citizenship and its neo/colonial histories, especially where citizenship is the subject of literary and cultural narratives.

Keynote speakers: Javed Majeed (King’s College London); Allison Drew
(University of York).

Symposium venue: Open University, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London
NW1 8NP Directions and map:
http://www3.open.ac.uk/contact/maps.aspx?contactid=1

To book one of the limited number of places please register for the event as soon as possible (and no later than Friday 15th November) by sending an email titled ‘Citizenship narrative symposium’ to oecumene-project@open.ac.uk.

For further information
see http://www.oecumene.eu/events/citizenship-narrative-and-neocolonial-histories

DISCIT Publishes European Policy Brief on Active Citizenship for Persons with Disabilities

DISCIT published a European Policy Brief on Active Citizenship to document the objectives and implications of the project. The policy brief introduces the Active Citizenship for persons with disabilities based on,

  • Security: Enjoying social protection against major life risks (such as illness, poverty, violence etc.), diminishing major uncertainties or the need for individual risk-taking (for instance in relation to financial matters), and avoiding constant worries about the future.
  • Autonomy: Enjoying opportunities to live independently, exercising freedom choosing the life one has reasons to value and avoiding dependence on or interference from others.
  • Influence: Participating in the discussions and decisions setting the framework for one’s own life as well as decisions aiming at the promotion of the common good and regulating social behaviour, given the interdependence of human action.

The Policy Brief continues by outlining the strategy for producing new evidence and analysis by examining,

  • The role of social services, in particular whether social services are able to reach out to persons with disabilities, how they meet the needs and claims of persons with disabilities and what kind of assistance and support the services are providing to persons with disabilities. Particular attention will be given to persons with psycho-social disabilities.
  • The strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches to labour market inclusion of persons with disabilities; identifying more effective ways to enhance employment.
  • Drivers of change and strategies promoting a successful move towards community care and living; removing barriers to the development of community living practices.
  • The conditions for ensuring accessibility and availability of new technologies, enabling persons with disabilities to enjoy full and effective participation in society; finding ways which could nudge the market in a more accessible direction.
  • Identifying potential poverty traps and barriers to economic independence for persons with disabilities related to existing redistributive systems for cash transfers throughout Europe and generate new knowledge about asset-building mechanisms to combat poverty and provide strategies for financially sustainable wealth accumulation which to enhance economic independence for persons with disabilities.
  • The variety of established structures, practices and patterns of political participation and representation for and of persons with disabilities, including the roles of Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in processes of deliberation, decision and implementation of disability policy on international, European, national, federal, regional and local levels.

Finally the Policy Brief summarizes the policy implications and recommendations and research parameters.

– Find more information here.

UACES Student Forum Seminars 2013

Swedenborg House, London, 21-22 November 2013

The Workshop

This two-day event organised by the UACES Student Forum is aimed at postgraduate students who are actively engaged in research on European affairs. The workshop aims to discuss the skills needed for academic researchers during the PhD process and beyond.

Sessions will cover areas such as conducting fieldwork, preparing and presenting at academic conferences and applying for grants and funding. The second day of the workshop aims to address the process of publishing in academia with sessions focusing upon understanding the journal submission process, deciding where to submit your work and writing for a non-academic audience.

Funding Available

UACES is able to cover the cost of travel (economy fares up to 90 GBP) as well as one night’s accommodation (50 GBP max. per person towards accommodation costs) for participants. Funding for travel and accommodation for students participating in the workshop is on a first come first served basis. Please see the Terms & Conditions at www.uaces.org/terms before registering.

 

This funding has been made possible with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union.

Registration

Please see www.uaces.org/seminars2013 for further information (including a list of speakers) and to register.

Registration closes on Thursday 14 November 2013.

IN SEARCH OF POLITICAL UNION IN EUROPE

IN SEARCH OF POLITICAL UNION IN EUROPE“: an International and interdisciplinary conference at Utrecht University (19-21 June 2014).

Key note speeches by Kalypso Nicolaidis (Oxford University) and Kenneth Dyson (Cardiff University).

 

Four thematic panel sessions :

 

1. The Economic Crisis and EMU

2. Democratic Governance

3. Citizens and Citizenship

4. Market and Social union

 

More info, call for papers and registration via: www.insearchofepu.eu

Fide 2014 Copenhagen

FIDE_download (1)
XXVI FIDE Congress is organised by the Danish Association for European Law (DFE) and the Faculty of Law at the University of Copenhagen. This congress is a unique opportunity to learn about and influence the development of EU law and to exchange ideas and visions with colleagues from all professions of the legal world. The conference takes place from 28-05-2014 until 31-05-2014.

Impact of mobile EU citizens on national social security systems

According to a study just published by the European Commission in most EU countries, EU citizens from other Member States use welfare benefits no more intensively than the host country’s nationals. Mobile EU citizens are less likely to receive disability and unemployment benefits in most countries studied.

In the specific case of cash benefits such as social pensions, disability allowances and non-contributory job-seekers allowances financed by general taxation rather than contributions by the individual concerned (so-called special non-contributory cash benefits – SNCBs), the study shows thateconomically non-active EU mobile citizens account for a very small share of beneficiaries and that the budgetary impact of such claims on national welfare budgets is very low. They represent less than 1% of all such beneficiaries (of EU nationality) in six countries studied (Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Malta and Portugal) and between 1% and 5% in five other countries (Germany, Finland, France, The Netherlands and Sweden).

Read full article.