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ECAS Newsletter Issue 01/2017

In This Issue 

Our work plan for 2017 is comprised of 38 activities, almost half of which take place on a regular basis throughout the year and are related to our core mission of empowering citizens in relation to EU rights and democratic engagement and participation in EU policy-making.

Among other activities, in 2017 ECAS will:
  • continue to provide free legal advice to citizens and businesses on their EU rights;
  • implement a research and advocacy project on the possible post-Brexit UK-EU relations and their impact on citizens' rights;
  • implement projects and research studies on e-participation and crowdsourcing legislation;
  • develop guidelines for policy-makers on how to engage with youth in the digital space; 
  • continue to provide advice to ECI organisers and work to ensure that measures to improve this instrument are properly implemented.
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Join our Digital Competition and Win a Trip to Brussels! 
 
As part of its project on Digital Democracy, DEEP-Linking Youth, ECAS has launched a Digital Competition to allow young people to create their own digital content on the theme of "youth learning mobility" (i.e. studying, working or volunteering abroad in the EU.  

Participating is easy: you need to be aged between 18 and 35, come from a European country and create a digital piece of content (video, infographic, etc.) which is both original and relevant to the topic, and send it to us. Our commission of experts will analyse all submitted entries and, once you have been selected, you will be able to distribute your digital content through different channels online. The more your content is relevant and viewed, the more you have the chance to win a trip to Brussels to participate in our Digital Democracy Day 2017 and engage with decision-makers!

DEEP-linking Youth is an Erasmus+ project, led by ECAS and implemented by seven European partner organisations, to explore how young people voice their opinions online on EU policy-making. We have been analysing their inputs especially on EU youth learning mobility programmes to see how their points of view may help improve EU policies on this topic.

More about the competition rules
More about our Digital Democracy focus area
 
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In November, we published the Triple A synthesis report at the concluding conference of this project, through which we have supported equal access to justice of citizens from the Western Balkans, Turkey and the EU through the provision of high quality information, advice and free legal assistance since 2013. The report summarises the experiences of civil society organisations providing Triple A services in the Western Balkans and Turkey, and makes key recommendations for the future provision of free legal aid and advice services in the region.

These include the implementation of self-regulating quality standards, a civic monitoring system with regard to judicial and fundamental rights reforms in the framework of EU accession talks, raising citizens' awareness of Triple A services and a predictable and fair system of public financing embedded in law. 

This video shows the key achievements of the Triple A for Citizens project and testimonials of citizens who have directly benefited from its services.  
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The EUCROWD project was launched in Slovenia on October 26 at a Conference hosted by the Institute for Electronic Participation.

EUCROWD is a project under the Europe for Citizens programme which aims to enhance citizens’ understanding of policy-making processes and encourage democratic engagement by establishing a framework for a crowdsourcing pilot at EU level.

Read more about the project
Read our paper 'Towards a Crowdsourcing Pilot at the EU Level'

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Between May and July 2016, our legal experts from the Your Europe Advice service registered an 18 per cent increase in the number of questions on entry and residence rights concerning the UK compared to the same period in the previous year. This increase is linked to the EU referendum in the UK, which has raised citizens' concerns. 

In response to this, ECAS hosted a webinar on 5 December 2015 with the participation of our legal expert for the UK, Anthony Valcke, to discuss some of the implications of Brexit for citizens' rights. We hope you find this webinar useful.

Access the webinar here 
Download the presentation
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Esra Inan, who has been an EVS volunteer at ECAS since February 2016, was interviewed for EuroparlTV by MEP Silvia Costa, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education, about her experiences as a volunteer on ECAS’ Youth Engagement and Active Participation in Europe (YEAP Europe) project.

Read more and watch the video here
Read more about the EVS project
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Members' Corner



Call for partners
 

Our Member WeCitizens, which works to promote transparency and accountability of elected politicians and political parties, is currently looking for partners to submit a project under DG Justice's call for proposals "Pilot project on e-voting" (ref. REC-RPPI-EVOT-AG-2016). The deadline for this call is 24 January 2017

WeCitizens has developed a concept for an upgraded political directory gathering data on public representatives using the database it already has in place.  

The main features of this political directory will be:
  1. politicians’ profiles, easily recognised by SEO
  2. a vote advice application
  3. an advanced search engine for finding politicians according to thirty search criteria
  4. “question reports”: an overview of the parties’ positions related to questions of special interest for citizens
  5.  a campaign-tool allowing citizens to send reminders to politicians who omitted to answer the questions submitted
  6. a “wiki”-function allowing citizens to feed into the database
  7. articles about cases of public governance, offering citizens the possibility to participate in the evaluation of the politicians involved.

If you are interested in this project, please contact Jean-Paul Pinon at +32 497 527751 or email him at pinon@wecitizens.be.
 
Are you an ECAS Member interested in sharing a project or an event with us? Send us a short description and we will include it in our upcoming Newsletter!
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EU Updates

In December 2016, following a public consultation in 2015, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal to reform the current EU legislation on social security coordination, namely EU Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and (EC) No 987/2009. The new text is expected to facilitate labour mobility, reinforce the tools for national authorities to fight abuse, and make a closer link between the place where contributions are paid and where benefits are claimed.

In its reply to the public consultation, ECAS and the EU Rights Clinic put forward 9 recommendations to the Commission on how to improve legislation in this area. While ECAS generally welcomes the Commission’s proposal, which has retained several of its recommendations, there are a number of important issues that have not been addressed in the revised text. 

Read our reaction to the Commission's proposal
Read our joint recommendations with the EU Rights Clinic

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Switzerland Passes New Immigration Law to Privilege National Workers 

On 16 December 2016, the Swiss Parliament passed a balanced immigration law (the 'Federal Act on Foreign Nationals') which addresses its voters’ wish to curb immigration  at the 'Against Mass Immigration' referendum of February 2014, while hopes to maintain the country’s privileged access to the Single Market.

The European Commission has welcomed this positive move by Switzerland, but insists that it wants more guarantees on how freedom of movement of EU citizens will be preserved under the new provisions. Specifically, the Commission wants more clarity on access to information about job vacancies and the rights of frontier workers.

Read more here
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Council Approves Legislative Priorities for 2017


With populist parties threatening to win major elections across Europe, the EU needs to show that it is still a force for good at the service of its citizens, demonstrate that it is relevant to their daily lives and regain public trust in its institutions. It is in this context that the Council, in conjunction with the Commission and Parliament, approved the EU’s legislative priorities for 2017 and Malta took over the rotating presidency of the Council.

Read more here
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EU Leaders Agree UK Withdrawal Negotiations Process

On 15 December, the leaders of the EU27 set out the procedural arrangements for the Brexit withdrawal negotiations when the UK invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and reiterated their agreement that continued access to the Single Market will require acceptance of all four freedoms, including freedom of movement.

With the Council planning to keep a firm hand on the negotiations, the Parliament will be kept at arm’s length from the negotiations, leading to the Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, threatening to conduct separate negotiations with the British government.

Read more here

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In December 2016, the European Court of Justice issued two important rulings on child benefits applicable to EU cross-border workers, both concerning Luxembourg. 

The EU Court also passed a judgement relevant to the freedom of establishment in a case concerning Greece.

Read a summary of the cases here
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Save the Date for ECAS Events!

 

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EU Events Calendar



Civic Engagement, Civil Society and Information

25 January: Local Democracy in Europe: Resisting Populism and Xenophobia (Ifri, Brussels)

EU Governance and Enlargement

19 January: WEBINAR on upcoming Task Force "Better regulation in the EU" (CEPS, online)
24 January: The Future of EU Trade Policy (Bruegel, Brussels)
7 February: Brexit: What impact on member states? (CEPS, Brussels)

Health and Consumers

24 January: Achieving sustainable European health systems - The way forward (EPC, Brussels)
21 March: European Consumer Day 2017 (EC, Brussels)

Migration, Security and Home Affairs

14 February: The situation of refugees and migrants with disabilities (EESC, Brussels)
2-3 March: 3rd European Migration Forum (EESC, Brussels)

Research, Innovation & Digital Market

25-27 January: Computers, privacy & data protection conference (Fundamental Rights Agency, Brussels)

Social Inclusion, Employment and Entrepreneurship

23 January: The European pillar of social rights: going forward together (EC, Brussels)

Sustainable Development & Environment
 
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Have Your Say on EU Policies!

 

Ongoing legislative proposals (open for feedback until 8 weeks following the publication of the proposal)

Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment, operation and use of the Schengen Information System (SIS) in the field of border checks - Send your feedback

Proposal for a Regulation on the use of the Schengen Information System for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals - Send your feedback



Roadmaps and Impact Assessments - Give your feedback here!

Mid-term evaluation of Erasmus+

Mid-term evaluation of Creative Europe Programme 

Mid-term evaluation of the Instrument for Pre-accession assistance II (IPA)

Mid-term evaluation of the European Neighbourhood Instrument 

REFIT Evaluation and Impact Assessment of Directive on privacy and electronic communications

European free flow of data initiative within the Digital Single Market

Mid-term evaluation of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights

EU Smart Borders System 

Reform of VAT rates


Open public consultations

(last days!) Interim evaluation of Horizon 2020
Deadline: 15 January 2017

Mid-term evaluation of the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)
Deadline: 25 January 2017

Public Consultation on the reform of VAT rates
Deadline: 20 March 2017

Mid-term evaluation of Europe for Citizens Programme
Deadline: 10 April 2017


Rules on liability of producers for defective products
Deadline: 26 April 2017

 

More feedback opportunities to express your views on all EU policies at "Your Voice in Europe" 

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