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ECAS Newsletter Issue 2014 - 10

In this Issue 10/2014

  • ECAS Corner
    • My Mobility Mentor Conference for Romanian and Bulgarian Citizens Working in Belgium Held in Brussels
    • Launch of the Right to Move Campaign
    • Triple A for Citizens - Regional Conference in Sarajevo
  • ECAS Top Followed Tweets of the Month
  • Members Story of the Month
  • EU Updates
    • New European Commission Ready to Take Office after Parliament's Vote
    • New EP Reports Shed Light into the Functionality of Post-Lisbon Treaty Decision-making Processes
    • European Parliament Appoints New European Data Protection Supervisor
    • Catalonia Seeks an Alternative Independence Consultation after Constitutional Court's Ban on Initially Planned Referendum
  • EU Rights in the Spotlight
  • Save the Date for ECAS Events!
  • EU Events Calendar
  • Open Public Consultations

ECAS Corner

MMM Conference for Romanian and Bulgarian Workers in Belgium Held in Brussels

On 17 October ECAS organised a seminar entitled “My Mobility Mentor – an experiment for workers from Bulgaria and Romania going to Belgium. Your chance to learn about your rights when working abroad”. 

The aim of the conference, which took place at the Royal Library of Belgium, was to cover some of the most important issues Romanian and Bulgarian citizens face after arriving in Belgium, such as residence and social security rights. The morning session started with presentations by experts from Your Europe Advice , SOLVIT centre, EURES, OR.C.A. and Arthis, followed by a Q&A session. Information was provided on working conditions in Belgium including minimum wage rates, probation periods and other work formalities. The conference was held in English with simultaneous translations into Romanian and Bulgarian.

Following up this Conference, ECAS announced the launch of a four-month mentoring program for Bulgarian and Romanian workers in Belgium. Through this programme up to 30 Bulgarian and/or Romanian citizens will be able to benefit from tailor-made advice and personalized support when they settle down in Belgium. The Program will be open until the 30 places are filled.

If you are interested in joining it, you can either register HERE or send us an e-mail with your contact details and  a short description of your problem. 

Similar to this event in Brussels, the University College of Turin organised a seminar for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens in Italy on 25 October. On 10 November a third meeting will take place in London which will be organised by the Law Centres Network. Further information about this event is available in our website.

Launch of the Right to Move Campaign

 
On 21 October ECAS and the EU Rights Clinic launched the Right to Move Campaign, which is comprised of Seven Strategies to improve the enforcement of free movement rules for EU citizens. One suggested strategy will be released every Wednesday until the end of November on a dedicated website: www.righttomove.eu.
 
This Campaign has been launched in response to the recent and unprecedented calls for restrictions on the free movement of people in the EU by some EU Governments, based on speculative arguments about the negative impact of migration in their social systems.

Support the Right to Free Movement

On 18 November ECAS' team ran the Ekiden Race in Brussels to support the Right to Free Movement in Europe and to promote the Campaign!

Do you want to support the campaign as well? Endorse our Campaign and share your story with us!

On 12 November ECAS will present a lunchtime seminar entitled Free Movement in the EU Today: Challenges and Opportunities to the European Parliament. The seminar will include a presentation of the Seven Strategies for Free Movement along with the findings of an independent study on the fiscal impact of EU migrants in select EU countries. 
 
 
Triple A for Citizens - Regional Conference in Sarajevo
 
ECAS is pleased to announce that the regional conference of the project “Triple A for Citizens, Access to information, advice and active help” will be held in Sarajevo on 27 and 28 November.

The project Triple A for citizens - access to information, advice and active help - is implemented in the framework of the European Commission’s Partnership programme for Civil Society organisations and aims to encourage non-governmental organisations to provide information, advice and active help to citizens on their rights in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

The conference is jointly organised by ECAS and the Association for Democratic Initiative (ADI) in Sarajevo. In attendance will be all Triple A project partners, representatives of the 14 pilot project organisations which have participated in it, a representative of the EU Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, international NGOs and media based in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The project's first phase will be presented using contributions from successful pilot experiences. Best practices in providing advice, information and legal assistance in the Western Balkans and in Turkey will also be explored.

Check out the conference agenda here!
ECAS Top Followed Tweets of the Month

Check them out here!


Members Story of the Month

 


 

The Foundation for Local Democracy pushes for an enhanced cooperation between free providers of legal aid in the Sarajevo canton

The Foundation for Local Democracy (FLD) is a local NGO in Bosnia and Herzegovina  with 18 years of experience in the field of protection, promotion and enhancement of human rights, in particular as regards the rights of victims of gender-based violence.

Since 2010 they have actively taken part in the development of a system of free legal aid provision to vulnerable categories of citizens and asylum seekers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they have managed to establish an informal cooperation and exchange between all providers of free legal aid in the Sarajevo canton. 

In order to take this collaboration further and upgrade the achieved results so far, the FLD has pushed for the establishment of a more formal collaboration through a Cooperation Agreement between all relevant institutions and municipalities in the Sarajevo canton concerning the protection of citizens' rights. This Cooperation Agreement will be officially signed in Sarajevo on 6 November 2014

For further information visit http://www.fld.ba/ 



Caritas Europe organises a Social Europe Day at the European Parliament
 
On 19 November Caritas Europe, in cooperation with the S&D Group is organising a high-level conference in the European Parliament to discuss the worseing employment and social situacion in Europe and with a view to identifying possible solutions. 

The conference, entitled 'Which Welfare for Europe?' takes place in the context of the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 Strategy, which  
which made fighting poverty and social exclusion an EU priority, by agreeing on the target of lifting at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. 

                                          

During the event, Caritas Europa will present the main findings of its Shadow Report, based on studies from 27 EU Member States, with concrete solutions and recommendations to be implemented in the next coming years in order to meet EU's objectives of inclusive growth. 

Members of different groups in the European Parliament, together with representatives of the European Commissioner and the civil society will participate in the conference, which will take place on 19 November from 14:30 to 17:30 at Room A1G2 of the European Parliament. 

For further information visit http://www.caritas.eu/events/conference-what-future-for-social-europe


Border People launches new website

Since 2007 the Centre for Cross Border Studies, in partnership with the North South Ministerial Council, has managed the Border People project, which provides cross-border citizens’ information and advice in the Ireland / Northern Ireland border region. 

The Centre has recently redesigned the Border People website so that it is now easier than ever to access tailored cross-border information on a wide range of topics from taxation, social security and job seeking, to health, education, banking and motoring.  


                              

The project also monitors obstacles to cross-border mobility in the region.  Three recently prepared briefing papers highlighting significant barriers to free movement are available for download from the website. They focus on issues with cross-border family benefits, education and the sustainability of cross-border information in the region.

The project is part-financed by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

For further information on the project visit www.borderpeople.info or contact Annmarie O’Kane a.okane@qub.ac.uk    
 

The Danish Cultural Institute in Brussels invites you to a film night debate on Ukraine 

On 20 November the Danish Cultural Institute EU Office in Brussels is organising a screening of two documentaries on Ukraine, in partnership with the Goethe-Institute. 

The screening of the documentaries The Story of YanukovychLeaks and At the border will start at 7.30 pm at the offices of the Goethe-Institute in Brussels (rue Belliard 58). It will be followed by a debate moderated by the Danish journalist Ulla Terkelsen with 3 invited panellists: Olga Krainik, Ukrainian journalist and film director; Mircea Barbu and Alex Varninschi, Romanian journalists and film directors and the former Danish Ambassador to the European Union Poul Skytte Christoffersen


                                  

For further information visit http://www.danishculture.eu
 

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


New European Commission Ready to Take Office after Parliament's Vote
 
The new Juncker College of Commissioners took office on 1 November, as originally scheduled. Many expected that the political turbulence over portfolios, nominees and priorities would delay the transfer of office. After portfolios were revised, teams reshuffled, new nominations were requested and last-minute concessions were made the Juncker Commission was accepted. The new Commission was approved without delay on 22 October with 423 votes in favour, 209 against and 67 abstentions.

Since the beginning of the Commissioner selection process, MEPs have been predominantly skeptical. They have been distrustful of the new structure, which empowers Vice-Presidents more than other Commissioners, critical about nominee expertise, suspicious about national context and background, and dissatisfied with the lack of sufficient commitment in several important policy fields like environment and sustainable development.

Click here to access full article

Two Reports by the EP Shed Light into the Funtionality of Post-Lisbon Treaty Decision-making Process

Two recently published reports, one by the European Parliament Vice-Presidents Responsible for Conciliation and the other by the European Parliamentary Research Service, offer insight into the functionality of the post-Lisbon European Union decision-making process. 

The report by the Vice-Presidents Responsible for Conciliation, the Activity Report on Codecision and Conciliation for the 7th Parliamentary Term, reveals that the heightened role of the codecision procedure appears to have increased MEPs influence in the law-making process. Codecision, which became the “ordinary legislative procedure” after the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon, requires the equal involvement of the directly elected MEPs and the appointed Council of Ministers to craft policy proposed by the Commission. As opposed to the consultation or consent procedures of the past, codecision establishes EP as a co-legislator (see interactive map for further detail about this procedure). There are still several policy areas, generally Common Foreign and Security Policy and Common Security and Defense Policy, in which EP’s powers are still extremely limited, but the Lisbon Treaty increased the institution’s authority significantly. Demonstratively, the EP caseload has increased 7.5% from 454 to 488 since 2009.


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European Parliament Appoints New European Data Protection Supervisor

After ten years (2004-2014) of serving as European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), Peter Hustinx has recently stepped down. He has been the first and only person to hold this title since the institution was established in 2004. The EDPS aims at ensuring all EU institutions, bodies, agencies and offices respect people's right to privacy when processing their personal data.

According to article 24.4 of Regulation (EC) No 45/2001, the data protection supervisor is appointed for a mandate of 2 to 5 years and can be eligible for a reappointment up to a maximum total term of 10 years. Hustinx is thus ineligible for a new mandate. 

On 21 October the Civil Liberties Committee in the European Parliament expressed its preference with a majority of 34 votes for Giovanni Buttarelli -Hustinx' former assistant- to take over this post. There were a total of 5 candidates. Buttarelli's past experience in the institution will be of particular value considering the current political environment in which European data protection rules are under revision. 


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Catalonia Seeks an Alternative Independence Consultation after Constitutional Court's Ban on Initially Planned Referendum

On 27 September, Catalan regional President Artur Mas signed a decree which called for a referendum on Catalan statehood. On 9 November the Catalans are scheduled to vote on whether to remain with Spain or to become an independent state. Though a vote on the Catalan independence question will be cast on the 9th, political and legal circumstances have altered the plan, content and implications of the original referendum.
 
Following two appeals submitted by the Spanish Government on 29 September, the Spanish Constitutional Court provisionally suspended both the Catalan Law on Popular Non-Referendum Consultations and Civil Participation and the Decree calling for the referendum. While the Court deliberates whether or not the Decree breach’s Spain’s Constitution, the Catalan President announced the withdrawal of plans to hold the independence referendum as initially conceived. This is seen as a tactical retreat to avoid defying the Constitutional Court’s authority.
 
Yet the issue is far from closed. On the same day that the regional leader acknowledged the impossibility of holding the referendum as initially planned, he called for an alternative consultation based on articles of the referred Catalan Law that have not been challenged so far. These articles, enshrined in chapter III of the Law under “citizen’s participatory processes”, would allow polls and surveys in which Catalan citizens can participate to express their opinion on matters of public interest (see chapter III on participative instruments in the Catalan Law on popular non-referendum consultations and civil participation). The competence of the Government of Catalonia to promote popular consultations and other forms of civil participation ultimately lies in article 122 of Catalonia’s regional Statute of Autonomy, which was passed in 2006.

 
Click here to access full article

EU Rights in the Spotlight


In October the British Upper Tribunal took an unprecedented stand for the expansion of Surinder Singh decision to couples in durable relationships.

Mos Maiorum police operation, launched by the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union with the cooperation of Frontex, was underway in Europe, causing an uproar concerning transparency and the legal basis behind it.

Finally, the European Ombudsman started an investigation regarding Frontex' respect of human rights in its border control activities.
 

Click here to access full description of the cases

Save the Date for ECAS Events!

EU Events Calendar


Free Movement, Migration & Enlargement

Central and Eastern Europe

Open Public Consultations

Internal Market:

Consultation on cross-border mergers and divisions
Deadline: 1 December

Enterprise: 

Consultation on the Small Business Act (SBA) ---a strong european policy to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs 2015-2020
Deadline: 15 December

Consultation on patents and standards – a modern framework for standardisation involving intellectual property rights
Deadline: 31 January 2015

Food Safety, Trade, Public Health, Environment, Enterprise, Employment and Social Affairs, Agriculture and Rural Development:

Consultation on defining criteria for identifying Endocrine Disruptors in the context of the implementation of the Plant Protection Product Regulation and Biocidal Products Regulation
Deadline: 16 January 2015

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries:

Consultation on streamlining EU funding in the Arctic
Deadline: 1 December

Environment:

Consultation on policy options to optimise water reuse in the EU
Deadline: 7 November

Consultation on the Ratification by the EU of the Minamata Convention on Mercury
Deadline: 14 November

Transport:

Targeted stakeholder consultation on the establishment of the “Pilot common project” supporting the implementation of the European Air Traffic Management Master Plan
Deadline: 14 February 2015

Consumers: 

Green Paper on the Safety of Tourism Accommodation Services
Deadline: 30 November

 

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