@HOME: Hosts Open to Mobile Europeans

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Thu 8, October 2020
11:30 - 13:00 CET
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@HOME: Hosts Open to Mobile Europeans 

The motto of our workshop and of the first edition of the ECAS Awards for the most mobile EU citizen-friendly location - the first of its kind in Europe.

In this workshop, we will:

(a) REFLECT - collectively reflect on the effects of the suspension of freedom of movement on mobile EU citizens (EUMC) based on our ongoing transnational empirical research which provides the perspective of mobile EU citizens on the aftermath of the ongoing crisis by surveying the opinions of EUMCs and CSOs across the EU;

(b) RECOGNISE - introduce the ECAS Awards and this year's selected local best practices and steer the debate towards envisioning how the Awards in 2021 can best contribute to the restoration of freedom of movement; and

(c) REACT - discuss innovative ways of safeguarding the freedom of movement through transnational campaigning that can change the public narrative on mobility and training of civil servants to better understand and facilitate it. 

Petar Markovic and Elena Avramovska (ECAS)
Representative from DG JUST (EC)
Rep. from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
Rep. from Improving Inclusion of EU Mobile Citizens (IMPEU)
Rep. from the International Centre for Policy Advocacy (ICPA)


Virginia Fiume, Coordinator, EUMANS, Belgium.
Petar Markovic, Citizens' Rights Training Coordinator, European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), Belgium.
Raia Mihaylova, Communication Manager, European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), Belgium.
Eoin Young, Co-founder & Programme Director, International Centre for Policy Advocacy (ICPA), Germany.
Elena Avramovska, Researcher, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), North Macedonia.
Marie-Hélène Boulanger, Head of Unit, Union citizenship rights and Free movement, DG JUST, European Commission, Belgium.
Ecaterina Constantinova, Project Manager, Improving Inclusion of Mobile EU Citizens (IMPEU), Italy.
Patrycja Pogodzinska, Project Manager - Legal Research Research & Data Unit, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Austria.
Empowering citizens
European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)
English (EN)

Session summary

ECAS @HOME : Hosts Open to Mobile Europeans workshop: ’Empowering citizens begins where their home is’ (Petar Markovic, ECAS)

ECAS’ workshop shifted the focus of the 'Empowering citizens' topic of the first #EURegionsWeek onto mobile EU citizens, those cca 17 million of Europeans who live, work, study or love across borders, and sought to reflect, recognise, and react on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mobile Europeans and freedom of movement. ECAS Citizens' Rights Training Coordinator Dr Petar Markovic shared some preliminary findings from the still ongoing ECAS  empirical research he is conducting together with researcher Dr Elena Avramovska - into the impact of the pandemic-related measures - that support the notion that EU mobile citizens have been hit disproportionately hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many facing a sudden halt in their access to residency rights in their host countries and a frightening majority experiencing consistent mental health issues as a result of lockdown measures. Patrycja Pogodzinska from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) asserted that lockdown measures had raised legal concerns about infringements of fundamental EU citizens’ rights and that worrying gaps had been revealed when it comes to the level of support available for socially excluded groups such as Roma and travellers. Reinforcing European citizens’ rights is an ongoing priority of the European Commission (as testified by the policy officer in the EC Citizenship Unit, Maja Šimunić) and the pending EU Citizenship Report is expected to reflect on the lessons learnt during the pandemic to better facilitate citizens in exercising their rights. The session came to a close with the introduction of the ECAS Awards and Eoin Young of the International Centre for Policy Advocacy (ICPA) outlining the need for positive, value-based stories to be 'written' in the months to come to reduce levels of the general public’s anxiety about mobility and migration in Europe as the result of their and ECAS' recent work on innovative campaigning approaches to strenghten transnational mobility. 

Invigorated by so many stimulating presentations, the participants were very active in discussing the heavy toll lockdown had on mobile citizens and marginalized groups, the inspiring innovative practices to safeguard the freedom of movement and stimulate political and cultural inclusion,  as well as ways of popularizing ECAS’ online training platform for civil servants,  part of the IMPEU project. Ecaterina Constantinova from IMPEU encouraged all the participants, especially those in any way providing services for mobiile Europeans, to try the online course out, convinced that this comprehensive MOOC can dramatically bridge the gap between the needs of mobile Europeans and the level of knowledge and competences of the civil servants catering to them at the local level. 

Take away message

’Empowering citizens begins where their home is’ (Petar Markovic, ECAS)

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