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European Year of the Citizen Alliance meets in Brussels

25 September 2013

The AIRE Centre alongside other civil society organisations took part in the penultimate meeting for the European year of the Citizen Alliance (EYAC) in Brussels last week, hearing updates from EU member states and working to mobilise civil society engagement throughout the EU.

The AIRE Centre’s Rebecca Collins was delighted to take part in the penultimate meeting for the European year of the Citizen Alliance (EYAC) in Brussels last week.

Part of the group representing civil society organisations in the UK, AIRE met with delegates from EU member states and heard updates on the activities in each country. The common theme among many organisations was the enthusiasm about the initiative but a lack of funding, at national and EU level, in support of the activities. Many states have – in the face of cuts and financial squeezing – still succeeded in promoting Citizen’s rights to their members and celebrating the idea of “Inclusive Citizenship” throughout 2013.

The second day of the meeting saw the final collaborative working group discussions on the policy paper and recommendations they have worked on since the beginning of 2013. The aim of the Alliance is to “mobilise and coordinate a wide civil society engagement throughout the European Year of Citizens 2013, to initiate a European-wide debate on issues related to the exercise of European citizens’ rights and to foster citizens’ participation in the democratic life of the European Union”. The working groups, split in to three thematic areas, considered the opinions of Europe-wide civil society representatives on issues related to Citizenship and The AIRE Centre contributed to the group “Towards Inclusive EU Citizenship for all EU Members”.

Trying to represent the needs of service users, AIRE stressed the importance of including firm recommendations about protecting legal aid budgets and to further promote access to justice for marginalised and excluded individuals. AIRE also welcomes recommendations to further press EU institutions and national authorities to fully implement existing legislation regarding EU freedom of movement and access to social security for migrants.

We look forward to the final event in Vilnius in December where the completed policy document will be launched. The recommendations will be presented to EU decision-makers and we hope that this will foster a new collaborative relationship between civil society leaders and policy makers regarding the most excluded and vulnerable people in Europe.

In the meantime, please join AIRE in celebrating the EU “Citizen Participation Week” 23rd – 29th September – keep an eye on our website and Twitter (@AIRECentre) for information!

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