The ECAS Knowledge Centre is an online collection of resources on two broad themes: EU Rights and Civic Engagement in Europe. It aims to help civil society campaigners, researchers, analysts, academics, advisors, policy makers and interested citizens navigate the large amount of information available in a user-friendly manner. It offers easy access to research, case studies, evaluations, papers, issue briefs, toolkits and more on the following topics:

Freedom of Movement in the EU
European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)

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The European Citizens' Initiative Registration: Falling at the First Hurdle?

December 1, 2014

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.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

Fiscal Impact of EU Migrants in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK

November 12, 2014

This study was undertaken to estimate some aspects of the net fiscal impact of EU migrants in four EU countries Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The report outlines the role of Fiscal Impact of EU Migrants in Selected Countries migrants from EU countries as participants in the labour market, as taxpayers and as benefit recipients also. The fiscal contribution of EU foreigners has increased substantially in the past several years. Compared to 2009, inn 2013 EU migrants paid 31% more in direct taxes as their wages increased and more EU workers found employment opportunities in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. As migration accelerated, EU foreigners also paid 44% more on indirect taxes, as they spent more onconsumer purchases. EU foreigners in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK received 35% more benefits than they did in 2009, due to the overall expansion of the welfare state in addition to the inflow of EU migrants.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

European Citizens' Initiative - First Lessons of Implementation

May 1, 2014

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.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

Divorce Immediately, or Leave. Rights of Third Country Nationals and Family Protection in the Context of EU Citizens’ Free Movement: Kuldip Singh and Others

September 27, 2018

The judgment in the Kuldip Singh case places a loose lid on the Pandora's box of third country national (TCN) rights earned in the penumbra of Union citizenship. The case focuses on the right to remain in a host Member State for the TCN spouse of a migrant EU citizen, in case of departure of the sponsor EU citizen, followed by dissolution of marriage.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

Scenarios for EU Citizenship in 2030. Repertoires for Action in Thinkable Futures

September 3, 2018

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.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

Restrictions on European Union Citizens’ Freedom of Movement and Residence in the Country on Grounds of Public Policy, Public Security and Public Health

August 1, 2018

The free movement of persons is one of the most successful European Union projects, serving as a majorly important factor promoting the European integration processes. The adoption of the Treaty on the European Union and the creation of EU citizenship implemented significant changes: the status of EU citizens and their right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States can no longer be interpreted in the way it was before the adoption of the Treaty on the European Union. There are no requirements for EU citizens within the Treaty to pursue professional or independent activities or to work under an employment contract in order to access provided rights. However, the right of free movement is not unlimited. The administrations of the Member State governments are authorized to impose restictions on the free movement of citizens.In the light of these facts, this article examines exceptions in the field of free movement of persons and indentifies concepts of public policy, public security and public health.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

Prospects for e-democracy in Europe

February 1, 2018

The drivers behind e-participation are digitalisation, the development of digital tools that can be usedfor citizen involvement – social media, deliberative software, e-voting systems, etc. – and growingaccess to the internet. In European countries, especially those that rank prominently among the top 50performers, citizens have more and more opportunities to have their say in government and politics.According to the UN, the largest share of e-participation initiatives relates to central and localgovernments giving access to public sector information and public consultation via digital tools.Recently there has been a growing focus on citizen involvement in policy making, although progressin this field has been modest so far.


Examining the Quality of Crowdsourced Deliberation: Respect, Reciprocity and Lack of Common-Good Orientation

December 31, 2017

We examine deliberative quality of crowdsourced deliberation in this paper. Analyzing data from two crowdsourcedpolicy-making processes, we found a good quality deliberation with respect, reciprocity, and storytelling according tothe standards in the theory of deliberative democracy. We identified a group of super-deliberators, whose deliberationwas above the average, and low-quality deliberators, whose deliberation was below the average. The findings show that even when crowdsourced policymaking was not designed for deliberation, it can facilitate a fairly high-quality democratic deliberation.


Publicness in Transnational Demo(i)cracy: The European Citizens’ Initiative and the Interplay between the Subnational, National and Transnational

December 31, 2017

In the absence of a commonly accepted theory of transnational democracy, evaluations of the EU's democratic performance as a transnational non-state polity remain problematic. This observation is highlighted not least by the introduction of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) in the Lisbon Treaty. The ECI has been characterized as the world's first transnational citizens' initiative, even though in participatory terms, it is little more than a mere petition. From a deliberative perspective, on the other hand, the ECI's main potential lies in its ability to foster transnational contestation and deliberation, as the cases of the formal Right2Water and the informal Stop TTIP initiatives have demonstrated. Such initiatives do however illustrate the problems that traditional state-centered theories of publics, publicness and the public sphere have in dealing with processes that by their very nature transcend, but by no means replace existing spatial, cultural and linguistic boundaries across the EU. Because of the ECI's organizational requirements, the success of an initiative requires the interaction of publics as well as an interplay of mobilization and contestation processes at the local, regional, national and transnational levels. The proposed paper reflects on these requirements both as a challenge and as an opportunity for (a) the continued democratization of the EU and (b) the further development of a theory of transnational democracy, in particular with a view to conceptualizing the role and very definition of the publics, publicness and indeed the public sphere within transnational democracy. Particular emphasis within this analysis is placed on the role of digital media as a facilitator in the development of publics that are by definition neither exclusively subnational, national or transnational, but transcend and elude such categorizations. Empirical illustrations are drawn from the formal Right2Water and the informal Stop TTIP campaigns.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

The European Citizens' Initiative - Promoting Democratic Participation?

December 1, 2017

This master's thesis examines the European Union's (EU) relatively new tool for citizen participation, namely the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI). The ECI was introduced in 2012 and has now been used for just over five years. The ECI's purpose is to enable European citizens to make an initiative proposal for the European Commission. This thesis examines what kind of participation the ECI has produced in practise. The ECI has been examined through the analytical framework of Graham Smith, which he has developed for analysing the democratic innovations. The analytical framework emphasizes six democratic goods, from which four, namely inclusiveness, popular control, efficiency and transparency, have been assessed in this thesis. This study uses quantitative data on all 66 ECI initiatives that have been launched during past five years. A classification of the data has beenproduced, including categorization of stakeholders that have launched initiatives and the policy areas that the initiatives have touched upon. 

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

Proposal for a European Citizens’ Initiative demanding full political rights for EU citizens resident in another Member State

September 1, 2017

Article 10 (1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) states that 'the functioning of the Union shall be founded on representative democracy'. In conjunction with this, Article 10 (3) goes on to further state that 'every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen. It is both tacitly and explicitly acknowledged that the democratic life of the Union consists of more than solely the European Parliament representing the interests of EU citizens across the Union. It is the argument of this European Citizens Initiative (ECI) that the exclusion of EU citizens residing in other Member States from all levels of political elections and referenda in their state of residence is an unjustified denial or restriction on their ability to engage with the democratic life of the EU. In conjunction with this, this ECI rests on several further pillars of political and legal argument. First, that the structureof the EU in regards to separation of competences and institutional structure means EU citizensresiding in other Member States are unable to exert any influence over many important areas of EUand national policy.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

European Minorities Win a Battle in Luxembourg – The Judgment of the General Court in the Case Minority SafePack European Citizens’ Initiative

July 26, 2017

The Lisbon Treaty introduced the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), a brand new tool of transnational participatory democracy aiming to bring Europe closer to the people. Five years after the first ECI was lodged, we have yet to see an ECI that would pass the full procedure and end up as a proposal for a legal act. The European Commission (hereinafter: Commission) refused to register almost one third of the initiatives lodged on the basis that they fall manifestly outside the framework of the Commission's powers to submit a proposal for a legal act. The organizers of the refused Minority SafePack ECI challenged the Commission's decision before the Court of Justice of the European Union. The General Court approved the claims of the organizers of an ECI for the first time in this case. The General Court's findings with regard to the Commission's duty to give proper reasoning with respect to the refusal of an ECI may be a small but important step in achieving the goals of the ECI.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

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