ECAS Knowledge Centre
Freedom of Movement in the EU
European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)
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This study has been conducted by ECAS within the framework of the ECI Support Centre with the kind assistance of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. The study aims to promote a better understanding of the ECI Regulation, particularly on the registration procedures for a proposed initiative, and it suggests a number of recommendations to be discussed when the review of the Regulation takes place based on an analysis of the "subject matters" of the ECIs that have been refused registration by the Commission.
The two-week cycle of Commission nominee hearings closed on the 7th October with the hearing of Vice-President of the Commission Frans Timmermans. If confirmed, First Vice-President-designate Frans Timmermans will be in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, meaning that he will have authority over the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) process. He will thus have responsibility over the management of the first transnational instrument of participatory democracy worldwide. This instrument is particularly relevant to political discussion at this time, as the European Commission is due to release a report on the implementation of the ECI in April, May 2015, three years after the entry into force of the Reg. 211/2011.
Upon request of the AFCO and PETI Committees, this study identifies difficulties faced by organisers when setting up and running a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI). It analyses possible solutions and proposes recommendations to improve the ECI as an effective tool for participatory democracy in the EU. The aim is to propose measures to ensure a straightforward ECI process with less costs and burdens for EU citizens. The ultimate goal is to define concrete actions to empower EU citizens to actively participate in shaping the future of Europe.
The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) infographic gives an overview of the different ECIs presented, their field of interest and the country of origin.
Practices across the Union vary considerably. The time, money and efforts needed to prepare applications is highly variable, and there are frequent administrative burdens. Availability of information also varies. While some nations (generally Western European nations) provide clear, accessible and user-friendly information online; others (notably Germany and Italy) provide patchy and uneven information. Information hotlines leave much to be desired across the Union. Recommendations include creating single contact points within relevant administrations and providing training to national authorities on free movement rights.
"Welfare tourism" expresses the concern that individuals use the right of free movement of persons with a view to benefiting from a more favourable welfare system. The principle of free movement of persons entitles EU citizens to reside in another Member State, under certain conditions. Only limited restrictions can curtail this right, namely temporary restrictions based on the Accession Treaties, agreed for the recent enlargements. Even if there are very few barriers to free movement, intra-EU mobility is limited and most of it is directed to EU 15. National social security systems are coordinated to ensure that free movement of persons is not hindered. Expenditure on social protection is spread across a range of welfare benefits in broadly similarly shares throughout the EU. Assessing the impact of immigration is not straightforward. Some elements can help to assess its impact on social security, but those studies which do exist stress the lack of data relevant to the issue, and the limited impact on welfare systems. Current concerns about "welfare tourism" mobility relate in particular to the imminent ending of transitional arrangements.
The European Citizen Action Service calls for 10 points of reform of the Reg. 211/2011
The founding treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and secondary EU law all provide for EU citizens' freedom to move and reside freely in any EU country of their choice. Growing numbers of citizens, and their family members, are making use of this freedom and related rights, such as the right not to be discriminated against based on nationality and the right to vote in certain elections in the host Member State. But making these rights a reality remains a challenge. This report presents an EU-wide, comparative overview of the application of the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC) across the 28 Member States based on a review of select case law at national level.
European Union (EU) citizenship is both about a legal status - a set of civil, social, economic and political rights complementing one's national citizenship - and about being an active participating member of the EU political community. EU citizenship includes therefore influencing decisionmaking on rules, policies and practices that effect one's own national and local societies. The opportunities and capacities to exercise these rights and to participate differ between countries, between groups and in time. Social, cultural and economic trends, national or regional crises, as well as national and EU policy responses to these trends and crises, create potentially new inequalities, new barriers, but possibly new opportunities too. Although we cannot predict the future, we can prepare ourselves for different thinkable futures. Through this study we intend to feed the discussion on what might happen with EU citizenship in different circumstances. Moreover, by doing so we also want to stimulate the discussion on what repertoires of action by which actors in what circumstances might protect, foster or boost EU citizenship in these alternative futures.
In this paper, we examine the changes in motivation factors in crowdsourced policymaking. By drawing onlongitudinal data from a crowdsourced law reform, we show that people participated because they wanted toimprove the law, learn, and solve problems. When crowdsourcing reached a saturation point, the motivationfactors weakened and the crowd disengaged. Learning was the only factor that did not weaken. The participantslearned while interacting with others, and the more actively the participants commented, the more likelythey stayed engaged. Crowdsourced policymaking should thus be designed to support both epistemic andinteractive aspects. While the crowd's motives were rooted in self-interest, their knowledge perspectiveshowed common-good orientation, implying that rather than being dichotomous, motivation factors move ona continuum. The design of crowdsourced policymaking should support the dynamic nature of the processand the motivation factors driving it.
The citizenship jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice has raised hopes for a more social Europe and triggered fierce debates about 'social tourism'. The article analyses how this case law is applied by EU member state administrations and argues that they are actively containing the Court's influence. As a result, rather than reconciling the logics of 'opening' and 'closure', they are heading towards an uneasy coexistence between free movement and exclusive welfare states. The argument here is illustrated with empirical evidence from Austria and Germany. Although both countries have taken different approaches to EU migrants' residency and social rights, they produce similar effects in practice: increasingly, EU migrants are being tolerated as residents with precarious status without access to minimum subsistence benefits. Ironically, attempts to restrict residency rights have resulted in a temporary extension of EU migrants' access to welfare in some instances.
While national and local governments increasingly deploy crowdsourcing in lawmaking as an open government practice, it remains unclear how crowdsourcing creates value when it is applied in policymaking. Therefore, in this article, we examine value creation in crowdsourcing for public policymaking. We introduce a framework for analysing value creation in public policymaking in the following three dimensions: democratic, epistemic and economic. Democratic value is created by increasing transparency, accountability, inclusiveness and deliberation in crowdsourced policymaking. Epistemic value is developed when crowdsourcing serves as a knowledge search mechanism and a learning context. Economic value is created when crowdsourcing makes knowledge search in policymaking more efficient and enables government to produce policies that better address citizens' needs and societal issues. We show how these tenets of value creation are manifest in crowdsourced policymaking by drawing on instances of crowdsourcedlawmaking, and we also discuss the contingencies and challenges preventing value creation.
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