Citizens’ dialogues and IMPEU roundtables
Citizens’ dialogues and IMPEU roundtables were held in Belgium, Spain, Greece, Italy and Bulgaria between February and April 2019, gathering in total 89 participants. Mobile EU citizens present at the dialogues shared their experience of living in another EU Member State and provided information on obstacles they face when exercising their freedom of movement or political rights. During the roundtables, civil servants and local decision makers talked about the main challenges they encounter when dealing with mobile EU citizens, including language barriers and communication problems. They also provided opinion on the reasons behind low political engagement of mobile EU citizens and explained what activities their municipalities have undertaken in order to improve the situation. Based on the results of the discussions and a valuable feedback received from mobile EU citizens, civil servants and local decision-makers, the following recommendations were proposed by the IMPEU partners:
Communication and outreach
Local and national authorities should conduct regular communication and outreach activities targeting mobile EU citizens. They should use various forms of outreach, including traditional media (TV, radio, press) and social media.
Diplomatic services of Member States should more actively inform their own citizens living abroad about the voting rights and any upcoming elections.
In order to facilitate the tasks-, investment- and burden-sharing, communications activities should be carried out by public authorities in cooperation with civil society organisations
Political parties should be more attentive to the needs of mobile EU citizens and should conduct campaigns in multiple languages.
Official websites of the national electoral commissions and national and local authorities should provide the information regarding voting eligibility and procedures in multiple languages.
Knowledge of EU citizenship and EU rights
Local, national and regional authorities should provide more training opportunities to their employees, so that civil servants can provide reliable and accurate information on voting rights to mobile EU citizens.
Civil education and education about the functioning of the EU and EU citizens’ rights should be compulsory at each level of school education.
The EU institutions should conduct regular information campaigns on EU citizens’ rights
Registration for local elections should become automatic or quasi automatic
The deadlines for registrations should be put closer to the elections in order to allow mobile EU citizens enough time to register.
Local/regional/national authorities should introduce online and email registration in order to facilitate and speed-up the process
Local authorities should promote the involvement of citizens in political and non-political activities in-between the elections.
Local authorities should encourage mobile EU citizens to participate in the local decision-making, which directly affects their lives, such as participatory budgeting or citizens’ councils.
◊ For further information, please read the Policy recommendations report on political inclusion policies for EU mobile citizens, which is available on: https://www.impeu-project.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Policy-recommendations-report-on-political-inclusion-policies-for-EU-mobile-citizens.pdf .