ECAS Newsletter Issue 09/2016

In This Issue 

Join Us at Our Digital Democracy Day

ECAS has the pleasure to invite you to its annual Digital Democracy Day, which will take place on 18 October 2016 at the Representation of Sachsen-Anhalt to the European Union.

This edition will focus on the challenges and the potential of e-participation for re-engaging with EU citizens and for bridging the gap between them and politicians.

Featured speakers include Maximilian Strotmann, Member of the Cabinet of EU Commissioner Andrus Ansip, MEP Isabella Adinolfi, shadow rapporteur of European Parliament's own initiative report on e-Democracy in the EU, and MEP Eva Paunova, co-founder of the Digital Agenda Intergroup of the European Parliament.

More information and registration
Read our latest study on e-Participation in the EU
Find out about our new project on Crowdsourcing in the EU 

Freedom and pluralism are listed among the EU's fundamental values in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. Yet in order to fulfil these values, the variety of choice in each area of life has to be respected and promoted, including by law. The European Alliance of Initiatives for Applied Anthroposophy (ELIANT) contends that freedom of choice is only possible when matched with the actual availability of choices.

Coinciding with its 10th anniversary, ELIANT, supported by ECAS, is organising a high level Conference in Brussels on 7 November 2016 to showcase its efforts to ensure a greater availability of choices for the benefit of European citizens. The Conference will be structured in parallel workshops, which will bring together key experts in various policy fields, including Education, Agriculture and Land Sharing, Medicine and Public Health, Minorities and Democracy, to discuss how this can be achieved in practice and what EU citizens can do.

Confirmed speakers include Sophie Beernaerts, Head of Unit for schools policy at DG Education and Culture of the European Commission; Gerald Haefner, former MEP for the Greens and co-founder of Democracy International, and Paula Bleckmann, expert pedagogue in media education at Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences. 

More information

The Commission to Reply to Our Recommendation on the ECI

As a member of the Stakeholders’ Group of the REFIT Platform, ECAS submitted an evidence-based opinion calling for a a revision of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Regulation. This opinion was endorsed by the other members of the REFIT Platform and it was presented to the Commission’s First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans, on 28 June 2016. The Commission has promised to communicate its follow-up actions by the end of September 2016. If retained, ECAS’ proposal should feature in the Commission’s work programme for 2017.

Read the opinion here
More information

On 26 July the European Commission launched a public consultation on the creation of a so-called 'Single Digital Gateway'. This new platform would act as a one-stop-shop, providing easy online access to information, procedures, assistance and advice concerning the Single Market, so as to enable citizens and businesses to make the most of it. 

Information on doing business across the EU and travelling to, living, studying or working in another EU country is scattered across different portals and websites, making it sometimes difficult for inexperienced citizens to find a quick answer to their questions. This consultation is an opportunity to express your views on problems you encounter when looking for such information and your suggestions to address such shortcomings. 

Drawing on its knowledge and experience as provider of advice to citizens and businesses concerning their EU rights, ECAS will also submit its reply to this public consultation in support of a more enabling environment for the exercise of Single Market rights. 

Participate in this consultation
Questions on intra-EU mobility? Our team of legal experts can support you! 

Our Consultation on the Mid-term Review of Europe for Citizens

In July 2016 ECAS launched a survey asking for the views of organisations interested in the Europe for Citizens Programme, currently under review. The responses received so far, which include previous and current beneficiaries, as well as organisations which have not yet participated in this programme, are currently being analysed.

The key findings and recommendations will be presented to key EU decision-makers at the Commission and the European Parliament. They will also feed into the public consultation the European Commission has announced it will launch this Autumn, with a view to improving the future of this programme.

A digest of the findings and the outcome of the campaign will be made available on our website soon. 

Participate in our survey here!

Members' Corner



‘Giving for Greece’: a philanthropy hub pioneered by the Bodossaki Foundation

The Bodossaki Foundation, one of the largest privately owned public-benefit organisations in Greece, has set up a philanthropy center called ‘Giving for Greece’, which caters to the needs of individuals, charities and corporations. ‘Giving for Greece’ designs fund-raising initiatives and programmes for individuals who do not want to incur the burdens of setting up a charity or a foundation of their own. Moreover, its experienced team of advisers helps corporations identify causes to support and also designs and implements innovative corporate social responsibility programmes.
‘Giving for Greece’ has also launched a thematic programme focusing on providing shelter and support for unaccompanied minors. Those are migrant and refugee kids who have arrived in Greece alone, amidst the refugee crisis, and are in urgent needs of support. Thanks to the efforts of the Greek team and the support from donors around the world, new shelters for unaccompanied minors are about to open in Athens, where all the necessary support services will be offered to young kids aged between 12 – 15 years old.
Since its launch in 1973, the Bodossaki Foundation has administered more than €400m aiming to promote the provision of health care, education, environmental protection and the strengthening of civil society.


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!

EU Updates

What Does Brexit Actually Mean for Citizens' Rights?

More than 2 months have elapsed since the UK’s Brexit vote, and there is still much uncertainty as to what this will mean for freedom of movement and the rights of EU and UK citizens after Britain does leave the EU. The mantra of the post-Brexit UK government has been ‘Brexit means Brexit’, but there has been no indication yet as to what the impact will exactly be on citizens.

Statistics from the “Your Europe Advice” service, which ECAS runs for the European Commission and through which more than 22,000 citizens across the EU receive legal advice on their free movement rights, indicate that this is a growing concern. 

More information
Civil Society Given a Boost in Western Balkans

The third Western Balkans Summit took place in Paris in July 2016, resulting in substantial progress for civil society organisations in the region as well as an important development in Serbia’s efforts to accede to the EU.

The standout achievement from the summit was the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office for the Western Balkans, building on a major commitment from the 2015 summit in Belgrade. It affirms the role that young people have to play in the “stability, sustainable development and progress in the region” and promises a cooperative approach to regional development and reconciliation involving the equal participation of government and civil society.

More information
During the Summer, the European Court of Justice issued two important judgements with implications for the right to free movement. Both cases concern the entitlement to social benefits. In the first case, as a result of employment status, and, in the second case, derived from residency.

In addition, the European Commission took Austria to the European Court of Justice in July over an infringement of the freedom to provide services - namely, the right to do business across the EU. More recently, the Court has issued a judgement on the criminal prosecution of EU citizens.

More information

Save the Date for ECAS Events!


EU Events Calendar

Civic Engagement, Civil Society and Information

12 September: Debate: Youth, radicalism and terrorism, Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Brussels
7-10 October: Euroland Agora, co-organised by AEGEE and LEAP, Athens 

EU Governance and Enlargement

19 SeptemberMoving EU enlargement forwards: why better communication matters, EPC, Brussels

Health and Consumers

13-14 September: Workshop: 'Cross-cutting Key Enabling Technologies for Health', European Commission, Brussels
28 September: European Health Forum, European Commission, Salzburg (Austria)
6-7 October: EU Mental Health Compass Forum, Luxembourg

Migration, Security and Home Affairs

25 October: European Day of Justice, European Commission, Brussels

Research, Innovation & Digital Market

29 September: Big data: individual rights and smart enforcement, EDPS-BEUC, Brussels
30 September: CITIES of the FUTURE-H2020, International Brokerage Event, Istanbul
29-30 September: Science and Policy Making: Towards a new dialogue, Brussels
17-18 OctoberLab Connections - policy labs in Europe, for Europe, Brussels

Social Inclusion, Employment and Entrepreneurship

12-13 September: Seminar on Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion, EESC, Brussels
10 October: Work, Welfare and Inequalities in Europe – The Research Perspective, European Commission, Brussels
26-28 October: Re-Industrialisation of the EU 2016, Bratislava

Sustainable Development & Environment

13 September - The new Environmental Implementation Review (EIR): What's in it for regions and cities?, Brussels
19-21 October - European Union and Sustainable Development: Challenges and Prospects, Clermont-Ferrand

15 September: Brexit: What are the implications for climate and energy policy in the EU?, CEPS, Brussels
21 SeptemberPolitique Climatique Européenne : Quelles trajectoires de transition énergétique ?, Confrontations Europe, Brussels
10-13 October: European Week of Regions and Cities (Open Days), CoR, Brussels

Info Days 

14 September: Horizon 2020 Information Day: Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency & Raw Materials, European Commission, Brussels
23 September: Horizon 2020 Information Day: ‘Smart cities and communities, European Commission, Brussels
26-27 SeptemberICT Proposers' Day 2016, networking event under Horizon 2020,  EU Council Presidency, Bratislava
28 September: Horizon 2020 Information Day: 'Smart, green and integrated transport', European Commission, Brussels
3 OctoberHorizon 2020 Information Day: ‘Smart grids and storage’, European Commission, Brussels

Have Your Say on EU Policies!

Ongoing legislative proposals 

Proposal on a European Year of Cultural Heritage (send your feedback!)
Deadline: 25 October 2016

Proposal establishing a Union certification system for aviation security screening equipment (send your feedback!)
Deadline: 2 November 2016

Roadmaps and Impact Assessments:

Modernising VAT for cross-border e-commerce (send your feedback!)      

Initiative on Improving Double Taxation Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (send your feedback!)

Establishment of a mandatory Transparency Register for interest representatives (send your feedback!)

Revised proposal for (a) regulation(s) establishing an EU Smart Borders System (send your feedback!)

Modernising the EU copyright framework – 2nd set of measures (send your feedback!)

eGovernment Action Plan 2016-2020 (send your feedback!)

Proposals to address unjustified geo-blocking and other discrimination based on consumers' place of residence or nationality (send your feedback!)

Proposal on contract rules for online purchase of digital content and tangible goods (send your feedback!)

Open public consultations

Fitness Check of EU consumer and marketing law 
Deadline: 12 September 2016

Revision  of the Mutual Recognition Regulation in the field of free movement of goods 
Deadline: 30 September 2016

Single Market Information Tool 
Deadline: 7 November 2016

European Pillar of Social Rights 
Deadline: 31 December 2016

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

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