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ECAS Newsletter Issue 2015 - 07

In This Issue 

Take Part in Our Training on EU Law Rights and Advocacy on 9th July

Together with the AIRE Centre, the Migrants Resource Centre, the Immigrant Council of Ireland and the Brussels Association pour le droit des Etrangers, ECAS is offering a free training on EU Law Rights and Advocacy on 9th July in Brussels. This training is part of the Invisible EU Migrants project, funded by the European Program for Integration and Migration, which aims to encourage EU institutions to take action to secure the EU law rights of vulnerable and marginalized Union citizens, 

This training is specially designed for those providing assistance and/or representation to EU migrants, but it is open to all. It aims to provide expert guidance and advice on how to advocate on behalf of individuals within EU mechanisms and will use real life examples to show the different approaches that can be taken.

Invitation to the training and access to registration
The purpose of this new publication 'Co-Deciding with Citizens: Towards Digital Democracy at EU Level' is to explore complementary methods to existing forms of interaction between citizens and policy-makers at EU level which foster co-decision processes using the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies. It describes the use of crowdsourcing for policy-making in Iceland, Finland and Paris as non-exclusive examples, showing the added value of co-legislating with citizens both in terms of process (wisdom of the crowd) and outcomes (increased legitimacy in the adopted policy).

ECAS believes that only by including citizens in the policy-making process can we bridge the gap between Europe and its citizens. Co-legislating with citizens using crowdsourcing legislation is possible, its is already a reality and it is our future. In line with its mid-term strategy ECAS is committed to facilitate, in cooperation with partners, a pilot to crowdsource legislation at EU level.

Download the publication

Our Director, Assya Kavrakova, was invited to speak at the International Conference "Pathways to Resolutions", organised by the Gibraltar Citizens Advice Bureau and held in Gibraltar on 22 June. 

The conference mainly discussed ‘mediation versus litigation’ in dealings with citizens in family disputes, employment and commercial matters. Due to traditionally long procedures and expensive court battles, many legal and non-legal professionals are increasingly looking at mediation as a way to solve disputes, avoid costs and accelerate conflict resolution. Assya Kavrakova presented ECAS’ free advice services to citizens including the Your Europe Advice and the EU Rights Clinic. She also gave an interview to the local TV station which you can view at the link below. 

See the TV coverage of the event here (from minute 29:40 onwards)
Study Visit of Turkish CSOs on Effective Advocacy and Lobbying Hosted by ECAS

On June 25th and 26th, ECAS welcomed a group of Turkish CSO Representatives, a Government representative, and a representative of the National Human Rights Institution of Turkey for a study visit to Brussels. The visit was organized by ECAS for a project which focuses on the dissemination of best practices of advocacy and lobbying and the enhancement of democratic participation in Turkey, and which is led by the Turkish Civil Society Development Center (STGM). The representatives gathered to meet with the Permanent Delegation of Turkey to the European Union, the Commission, and various NGOs and associations over the two days.

The fact that Brussels should be accessible to all NGOs regardless of geography and which language the organizations speak was underlined by European Movement International (EMI) Board member and the European Movement Belgium President Olivier Hinnekins in his discussion with several CSOs. Although a lack of English proficiency can be a severe restriction for NGOs outside of Brussels in accessing the various resources and knowledge which can be found here, it is this type of visit which has allowed these local organizations to begin to establish relations beyond their country, laying the groundwork for potential future partnerships, collaboration, and more.
 
ECAS, on the Commissions' Better Regulation Agenda

Our EU Policies and Outreach Manager Elisa Bruno has been featured in an opinion piece on Euractiv on the European Commission’s recently adopted Better Regulation Agenda.

She argues that “the modus operandi for citizens should aim at ensuring inclusiveness: 'engaging the unengaged' and making sure that minority voices are heard; look for innovative ideas based on the so called 'wisdom of the crowd'; and create 'learning moments' for citizens, thus raising public awareness and strengthening civic education.”

Access the full article 


Members' Story of the Month

 


The Civil rights project Sisak is a non-governmental, non-political, unprofitable, humanitarian organisation registered in Sisak (Croatia) in 2003. CRP Sisak works mainly in the Sisak- Moslavina and Karlovac counties, although in co-operation with other non-governmental organisations it reaches out to the whole territory of the country. 

The goal of the organisation is to provide humanitarian aid to refugees, returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and socially vulnerable persons, as well as to uphold human rights and values of all citizens regarding the development and strengthening of democracy and humanism and the protection of human, civil and political rights.

CRP Sisak has been an authorised legal aid provider since 2009, registered at the Croatian Ministry of Justice and it is also a member of the Ministry's Commission for Free Legal Aid. In addition, since 2012 they are a Contact Point of the Ombudsman Office for the Region Central Croatia where local population may report discrimination cases.

In order to achieve its goals, CRP implements different projects and activities. As a last activity, CRP organised an exhibition of photographs of the refugee camp Mala Gorica (Croatia) entitled "20 years of temporary accomodation", whose aim was to show that the impact of the Croatian-Bosnian war in terms of displacemet of people is still visible today. The exhibition was organised jointly with UNHCR Croatia and opened its doors on the 19th June 2015 on the occasion of the Word Refugee Day, until the 26th of June. 

More information about CRP Sisak and this exhibition
 

Are you an ECAS member interested in sharing an activity, a project or an event with us? Send us a short description and we will include it in our upcoming Newsletter!

EU Updates

Grexit: A Lose-Lose Situation for EU Citizens

On the eve of the deadline (June 30) for the repayment of Greek loans  to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avoid a Greek default, EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici announced that the “door is still open for negotiations on latest EU Commission proposals”, defending the position that Greece should not abandon the Euro. The current offer of releasing the final bailout package still stands on the table provided that Greece commits to the following austerity measures.

Amidst the ongoing political war between the Troika and Syriza, EU citizens are clearly the net losers. Greeks are forced to live with high unemployment, pension cuts and now €60 limit on cash withdrawals. Moreover they are faced with the burden of responsibility to accept or reject on the July 5 referendum the agreement plan put forward by the troika that will no longer be valid by the time when the referendum takes place. 

Photo credits: Bertelsmann Stiftung

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European Agenda on Migration: Towards Common Dialogue or Diverging State Interests?

 On June 16, 2015, BBC News reported that the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean reached more than 100,000 since the beginning of the year, pointing to a real migrant crisis that continues to escalate in Europe, especially affecting the Southern European member-states bordering the Mediterranean. In particular, of the total amount, 54,000 arrived in Italy and 48,000 in Greece, and the remainder in Spain and Malta.

With the increasing numbers of migrant entries from North Africa and Syria and based on Article 78(3) of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, on May 13 the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed a European Agenda on Migration, which aims to reduce the incentives for irregular migration, save lives and secure external borders, strengthen the common asylum policy and finally develop a common policy on legal migration. 

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EU Rights in the Spotlight 

Two important cases relating to the EU residence right enforcement and to the social benefits linked to that right were submitted to the attention of the European Court of Justice during the last month of June 2015.

In the first case (C-299/14), the Advocate General confirmed the past case law of the Court stating that EU citizens who move to a Member State of which they are not nationals may be excluded from entitlement to certain social benefits during the first three months. In contrast with this, the Advocate General argued that these citizens may not be excluded during that period from entitlement to benefits intended to facilitate their access to the labour market as long as they can prove the existence of a genuine link with the labour market in the host Member State.

In the second case (C-579/13), which concerned the legislation in force in the Netherlands, the Court ruled that obliging third-country nationals with long-term residence status to pass a civic integration exam is a legitimate requirement and may be compatible with EU law, and in particular with Directive 2003/109/EC. 
 
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Save the Date for ECAS Events!

EU Events Calendar

 
Civic Engagement, Civil Society and Information

31 August: 
Call for Nominations for the Second European Democratic Citizenship Awards
22-24 October: NECE Conference 2015: "‘US’ and ‘Them’: Citizenship Education in an Interdependent World", Thessaloniki (Greece) - NECE has launched a call for papers to provide input into the Conference (deadline: 30 July)
 
Education, Youth and Culture

24-26 September: European Young Leaders– Friends of Europe seminar, Dublin (Ireland)
 
Regional Development and Sustainable Growth

6 July: Conference - Europe 2020 – paths for reinventing Europe's future, Brussels (Belgium)
9 July: Annual Workshop - Local solutions for a better business environment, Brussels (Belgium)

Research, Innovation & Digital Market

6 July: Information Day on Furure and Emerging Technologies  call, Brussels (Belgium)
9 July: CEPS Seminar - Geoblocking: Unjustified barrier to the digital single market or legitimate commercial practice?, Brussels (Belgium)
14-15 September: Info Day on H2020 Work Programme 2016-17 on secure, clean and efficient energy, Brussels (Belgium)
22 September: Public sector transformation: integrating digital into the delivery of public services in Europe, Brussels (Belgium) - FREE for public sector representatives!
23 September: "Science is wonder-ful": 10th Anniversary of the European Researchers' Night, Brussels (Belgium)
1-2 October: CONCORDi 2015 - 5th European Conference on Corporate R&D and Innovation, Seville (Spain) 

Social Inclusion, Employment and EU Rights

1-2 October: Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights - “Tolerance and Respect: Preventing and Combating anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim Hatred in Europe”, Brussels (Belgium)
 
Sustainable Development & Environment

6 July: EXPO Milan Workshop - Best practices in improving the sustainability of agriculture, Milan (Italy)
9 July: Workshop of Renewable Carbon Sources processing to fuels and chemicals, Brussels (Belgium)
14 July: Conference on climate change and food security: challenges for plant health, plant breeding and genetic resources, Milan (Italy)
12-15 October: OPEN DAYS 2015, Brussels (Belgium)

Trainings & Courses


29 June-17 July: Intensive Seminar on the EU, Bruges (Belgium)
6-12 July: Transparency International School on Integrity, Vilnius (Lithuania)
7-12 September: 2015 CEPS Summer School Economic and Financial Governance of the European Monetary Union, Brussels (Belgium)
17-18 September: Successful Preparation and Implementation of Twinning Projects, Maastricht (The Netherlands)
17-18 September: How to Use EU Funds for Renewable Energy Projects, Barcelona (Spain)
24-25 September: Effective Communication and Visibility Plan of Projects Funded by the European Union, Maastricht (The Netherlands)


 

Open Public Consultations

 

Banking and Finance

Consultation on further corporate tax transparency
Deadline: 9 September 2015

Environment, Energy and Climate Action: 

Consultation on EU Timber Regulation Review
Deadline: 3 July 2015

Consultation as part of the 'fitness check' for EU nature legislation (Birds Directive, Habitats Directive)
Deadline: 24 July 2015

Consultation on EU ecolabel for fishery & aquaculture products
Deadline: 31 July 2015

Consultation on the establishment of the annual priority lists for the development of network codes and guidelines for 2016 and beyond
Deadline: 10 August 2015

Consultation on the Circular Economy
Deadline: 20 August 2015

Consultation on the EU Action Plan on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade 
Deadline: 31 August 2015

Consultation on the functioning of Waste Markets in the European Union
Deadline: 4 September 2015

Consultation on International Ocean Governance
Deadline: 15 September 2015

Consultation Fishing opportunities for 2016 under the Common Fisheries Policy
Deadline: 1 October 2015

 

Internal Market

Consultation on Remedies in Public Procurement
Deadline: 20 July 2015

Consultation on cross-border parcel delivery
Deadline: 29 July 2015

Consultation on contract rules for online purchases of digital content and tangible goods
Deadline: 3 September 2015

Justice, Home Affairs and Fundamental Rights

Consultation on Equality between Women and Men in the EU
Deadline: 21 July 2015

Consultation on the EU Blue Card and the EU’s labour migration policies
Deadline: 21 August 2015

Public Health

Consultation on the implementation of an EU system for traceability and security features pursuant to Articles 15 and 16 of the Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU
Deadline: 31 July 2015

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