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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Welfare Benefits and Intra-EU Mobility

September 24, 2013

"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.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

Measures to Limit Migrants' Access to Benefits

September 27, 2018

Following an article by the Prime Minister's in the Financial Times on 27 November 2013 in which he said he shared concerns about the impact of lifting transitional restrictions on the rights of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals to work in the UK from 1 January 2014, the Government has introduced a raft of measures "to tighten up our EEA migration rules to ensure our welfare system is not taken advantage of."

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

No Move Without Free Movement: The EU-Swiss Controversy over Quotas for Free Movement of Persons.

September 3, 2018

The focus of this Policy Brief is the Swiss referendum of 2014 against 'mass immigration' in Switzerland. It identifies the challenges that a quota on EU citizens' free movement rights to Switzerland would pose to EU-Swiss relations, considering: i) the value of freedom of movement in the EU and its indivisibility from the internal market and other economic freedoms; ii) the specificity of the EU legal system following the Lisbon Treaty that has established specific democratic and judicial accountability mechanisms; iii) the lack of supranational judicial oversight of the EU-Switzerland agreements framework; and iv) the existence of the so-called guillotine mechanism, according to whichthe termination of the Free Movement Agreement would entail the automatic termination of the other agreements with the EU.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

Access to Social Benefits for EU Mobile Citizens: "Tourism" or Myth?

August 31, 2018

The aim of this policy paper is to shed some light on this complex debate on mobile EU citizens' access to benefits. The first section focuses on the scope of intra-European mobility, the profile of mobile EU citizens and their burden on host countries' welfare system. The second section presents an overview of the EU's legal framework with regard to mobile citizens' access to benefits by identifying the provisions concerning workers, economically inactive citizens and first-time jobseekers. The third section highlights both the responsibility of Member States in the organisation of their welfare system and the recently adopted reforms which limit EU citizens' access to benefits as well as the modifications foreseen in the EU-UK deal to the relevant European legislation. Lastly, the fourth section presents the challenges to be met and the outlook for the future.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

More Initiative for Europe’s Citizens

February 1, 2018

The European citizens' initiative (ECI) is faring like a lot of up-and-coming talents. It has great potential, but it cannot take full advantage of it yet. This sentiment is often expressed, and there are several reasons for the situation. In the Treaty of Lisbon, it was stipulated that 1 million European citizens can place an issue on the agenda in Brussels. Whoever collects this many signatures can call on the European Commission to take action. But six years after the introduction of the ECI, it can hardly be called a success story. Registering an initiative is too difficult, collecting signatures too demanding. 

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

Revising the European Citizens’ Initiative

December 18, 2017

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) enables European citizens to invite the Commission to table a proposal for a legal act. The detailed rules for such initiatives are laid down in a 2011 regulation, whose main stated aim is encouraging citizens' participation in the political life of the European Union (EU), by establishing a userfriendly instrument with simple and proportionate procedures. However, since the regulation became applicable in April 2012, numerous actors have raised concerns regarding the instrument's functioning.To date, citizens have submitted a total of 66 initiatives to the Commission, out of which 47 were registered. Four initiatives were successful in collecting the required number of signatures but, so far, none of them has resulted in a Commission proposal. Against this backdrop, many have called for reform, aiming to simplify the existing procedures and increasing the tool's usability. On 13 September 2017, the Commission presented a legislative proposal which would update the tool and repeal and replace the existing regulation on the European Citizens' Initiative

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

24 Years of EU Citizenship: Removing the Obstacles to Full Potential

May 31, 2016

EU Citizenship and the rights that come with it are one of the cornerstones of the European project, if not the main achievement. European citizenship, enshrined in the EU Treaties, has formed part of the EU aquis since 1992 when the Maastricht Treaty was adopted, making it an objective for the Union 'to strengthen the protection of the rights and interests of the nationals of its Member States through the introduction of a citizenship of the Union'. The ultimate aim of EU Citizenship was to increase the citizens' sense of identification and belonging to the European Union, and thereby to create a European identity by outlining a number of rights which citizens could enjoy in the same way as national citizenships do.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

The Fiscal Impact of Immigration in the UK

August 12, 2014

This briefing provides an overview of the existing estimates on the impact of immigration on government finances for the UK and other countries and explores the conceptual and methodological issues related to estimating the fiscal impact of immigration.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

EU Immigration and Asylum: Are We Up to the Challenge?

July 30, 2014

As the future and the strategic guidelines of Europe's migration policy for the post-Stockholm programme were on the agenda of the European Council on 27 June 2014, this Synthesis underlines the main elements discussed during the expert seminar organised by NE-JDI on 27 June 2014 in Paris on the future of the European immigration and asylum policy.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

Free Movement in Focus: Is One of the EU's Freedoms at Risk?

June 4, 2014

Under a variety of rubrics, including 'Armutszuwanderung' (poverty migration) and 'social benefits tourism', the debate on the free movement of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in the EU has entered public discussion. It has featured in the debates leading up to the European elections in May 2014. The European Parliament victory for populists in France, the UK and Denmark has added gravity to these debates.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

The Free Movement of People in the European Union: Principle, Stakes and Challenges

May 13, 2014

The free movement of people is a fundamental acquis of European integration; Introduced as part of the Internal Market it was extended with the Schengen Agreements. It is also inexorably linked to European citizenship. However, real difficulties have affected the free movement of Europe's citizens. Closely associated with the building of the Internal Market it seems to have suffered the loss of impetus by the latter and also the serious consequences of the crisis. It is also struggling due to rising concern about external migratory pressure and the enlargement. In particular this is fuelling fear of social dumping. Difficulties have to be identified in order to provide pragmatic answers without bringing into question one of the founding principles of the European Union. Furthermore free movement highlights the major challenge of economic and social convergence to which the European Union has to rise.

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

Migration Flows of A8 and Other EU Migrants to and from the UK

April 10, 2014

This briefing discusses migration of European Union (EU) citizens (excluding British citizens) to and from the UK. A special focus of the briefing is on A8 citizens -- citizens of the eight countries that joined the EU in May 2004 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and A2 citizens -- citizens of the two countries that joined the European Union (EU) in January 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania).

EU Rights: Freedom of Movement in the EU

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