In 2015, 15.3 million EU citizens were living in a Member State other than their own. While free movement is at the core of European integration, mobile EU citizens may “fall through the cracks” of public policies and actions, both at the national and local levels, hindering access to their rights and entitlements. At the policy level, the Citizens Rights Directive (2004/38/EC) is being transposed into national legislation, interpreted and applied by EU Member States in an increasingly restrictive manner.
Across Europe, these restrictions already impact upon the lives of mobile EU citizens who face discrimination in accessing social services, leaving many without health care, housing, family benefits etc. There is a high risk for ‘Brexit’ and its modalities to further encourage a ‘race to the bottom’ as far as mobile EU citizens’ access to rights is concerned.
Meanwhile, advocacy by civil society organisations on the topic is also limited. While many are supporting non-EU migrants, the issue of mobile EU citizens’ access to rights is only addressed by a smaller number of advocates and advocacy organisations.
With this sub-fund, EPIM aims to support projects of civil society organisations that seek to engage at European level and have an advocacy and/or awareness raising focus, to:
- Increase EU institutions’ role in monitoring and providing guidance to EU Member States on the transposition, interpretation and application of the Citizens’ Rights Directive and in addressing issues related to mobile EU citizens’ access to rights, including through appropriate funding streams;
- Counter the trend towards/limit the possibilities for a restrictive interpretation of the Citizens’ Rights Directive in Member State law, policy and practice, in particular with respect to vulnerable groups;
- Increase the extent to which mobile EU citizens can effectively secure access to/are aware of their entitlements, and have access to effective accountability mechanisms.
In 2017-2018, EPIM supports the three following civil society projects under this Sub-Fund:
ACT for Free Movement, led by the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS) and European Alternatives
PRODEC – Protecting the Rights of Destitute EU mobile Citizens, led by the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA)
Making EU mobile citizens visible: access to healthcare across EU borders, led by Médecins du Monde