Draft programme for the 5th Annual Conference on European citizenship
(Originally planned for 21 and 22 September and now postponed until Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 December 2020)
Venues: Institute of European Studies (IEE) 39 Avenue FD Roosevelt and SECO 53 and 104 rue d’Arlon, Brussels
On average 73% of people living in the EU see themselves as in some way “European citizens” (Standard Eurobarometer 92 Autumn 2019).
Higher figures are apparent among young voters, who contributed to the much better turnout in the European elections of May 2019.
Freedom of movement of people within the EU appears consistently as the most popular of the EU’s achievements.
The number of people living and working permanently in another EU Member State has doubled in the last decade to reach 17 million-but that is the figure before BREXIT.
Millions more, not included in the statistics, are experiencing Europe and networking across borders.
Why is it then that more efforts are not being made to develop European citizenship? Now is the right time for initiatives.
The current pandemic has revealed both the weaknesses of European citizenship with the sweeping aside of rights to freedom of movement, but also its strengths and potential for supporting the necessary solidarity for Europe to emerge from the crisis.
This fifth ECIT annual event, like the previous ones, will bring together civil society activists, researchers and EU policy makers.
The aim is to build consensus about how to support and develop this first transnational citizenship of the modern era.
The 2020 edition will be organised in cooperation with NECE (Networking European Citizenship Education) building on the results of their conference in Berlin on 5-8 November and the IIE-ULB (Institute of European Studies – Université Libre deBruxelles).
Questions for debate include:
- How to educate for European citizenship, so that it captures the popular imagination?
- How to make EU citizenship as relevant to those citizens who stay at home as to those on themove?
- How to strengthen European rights, values and the rule of law?
- What are the boundaries of European citizenship?
- Should new political, social, environmental and health rights be added to EU citizenship?
The programme attached is in two parts:
- The theme of the first day will be how to give a new impetus to European education for citizenship and democracy, the field of study and activity in and out of school most effected but also most neglected during the pandemic.
ECIT believes that every citizen should be informed from an early age about the EU and their European rights and have a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate in an Erasmus for all. EU citizenship education can no longer be taken for granted and should be additional to national civic education.
The current crisis calls for this to be a new priority since the pandemic has changed social relations, the future employment prospects of young people and increased inequalities.
The first day will cover the changed landscape of a European citizenship of rights, participation and belonging to provide policy makers and educators with ideas for the contents of European citizenship education.
The result will be a declaration building on the results of the NECE conference in Berlin with recommendations to EU policy makers.
The second day will be focussed on the need, 27 years after the Maastricht Treaty, to grasp the nettle of adding new rights to a status too narrowly focussed on freedom of movement.
EU citizenship is relevant to those who stay in their country of origin, but has to be either activated or disentangled from national provisions to be visible.
ECIT proposes that EU citizenship needs to become more like a normal citizenship connected to the public sphere.
This should be done by granting full political rights to EU citizens on the move which is the aim of the citizens’ initiative “Voters Without Borders”.
The pandemic has shown that European rights can be suspended in an emergency by uncoordinated national measures.
The 17 million should have a stronger voice at all levels of decision-making. Increased political rights are the key to claiming other rights.
The participants will consider the case for adding new social, environmental and health rights to an EU citizenship which would then be as relevant to those on the move as to those who stay at home.
A final session will consider future research and action agendas.
A background discussion document will be prepared by ECIT. Participants can already find here our guidelines on European citizenship, demands to the EU Institutions and proposals for new political, social environmental rights. A paper on health rights follows.
Over 100 participants, either physically present or on-line, are expected to attend.
The programme below is still work in progress under current circumstances. Most speakers still have to confirm and a choice has to be made between different possible venues.