|From 30 August to 1 September 2017 civil society activists, researchers and policy makers will gather at the Maison des Associations Internationales (MAI) in Brussels for brainstorming sessions and a public event which will gather over 200 people.
Under the weight of challenges to the EU, European citizenship could sink or it could swim as the key to solving them. “Countering threats to European citizenship, reconfiguring its future” is the title of this series of events by ECIT Foundation and partner organisations focusing on three main questions:
1. What is European citizenship beyond the limited set of rights in the EU Treaties? By bringing together principal protagonists across different disciplines, the aim is to start forging a clearer consensus. Building on the results of the first event a year ago ECIT has tabled a Background Document and Guidelines, which bring together the scattered elements of this first transnational citizenship of the modern era to show what it is and can become.
2. What can be done to strengthen European citizenship? There is no shortage of material for the event. Three specific ideas can be mentioned by way of example:
- Creation of a Free Movement of People Solidarity Fund linked to a minimum income scheme, so that intra-EU mobility works better and is seen to do so for the benefit of both “movers” and “stayers”;
- A more political European Citizenship with a suggestion for a European citizens’ initiative (ECI) demanding that those resident in other Member States should have the right to vote not only in local and European elections, but also in regional, national and presidential elections, as well as referenda. Participants will also look at the relationship between social movements and political parties and whether a genuinely European party could emerge in time for the 1919 elections to the European Parliament;
- Symbols can be important and practical too. A European citizens’ card is proposed and in a parallel session architects are coming together to plan a project for a European citizens’ house in Brussels.
3. How can supporters of European citizenship work more effectively together? For the first time, EU Citizenship is becoming much more visible, as result of BREXIT and other crises, and is on the agenda. But, don’t count on the EU, let alone governments to take up the challenge. Strengthening European Citizenship can only happen through an alliance of civil society gaining the support of the European Parliament. From the Summer University, as a first step, a broad coalition could be launched for mutual support and signature of all the petitions and citizens’ initiatives relating to European Citizenship and which will be featured at the three-day event.
The public debate and the Summer University are open to journalists who can attend at any time.