Article originally published on Transeuropa Caravans, 6 February 2020 – Accessible here
Freedom of movement is one of the key rights of EU citizens. The population of mobile EU citizens has recently doubled, with around 17 million citizens of voting age in 2019, but the levels of voter registration for mobile EU citizens in municipal and European elections remains low. Certainly reforms are necessary since only some 8% of EU mobile citizens on average registered to vote in their country of residence. The low turnout for mobile citizens is worrying, as there is a real danger they do not exercise their electoral rights, thus being excluded from any democratic participation. As EU mobile citizens face problems in getting information and access to their free movement rights, including their electoral and political rights, they increasingly may feel they are losing control over the decisions that affect their lives, both at the local and at the European level.
With this in mind, ahead of the 2019 European Parliament elections, a group of young activists of Transeuropa Caravans was trained as peer leaders on EU rights and responsibilities for mobile citizens across Europe. Transeuropa Caravans reached personally over 5000 people in almost 80 locations – 38 cities in 15 European countries. They travelled to meet European citizens, inform them directly, connect their stories and their struggles, and mobilize together to promote electoral rights and participation of EU mobile citizens throughout Europe. Together they tell us a story which shows that inclusive Europe is possible when civil society, local authorities and the EU institutions join their forces together.
In this publication, we are highlighting a range of best practices – local or regional initiatives that the Transeuropa Caravans approached and explored in person. We believe that these stories, together with the recommendations we give, can inspire people and policy makers in all EU countries – particularly with regard to freedom of movement, migration across Europe and voting rights.
View a summary of the report here