By Noreen Bowden | October 1, 2008
“Europe on the Move: the first meeting of Europeans resident outside their country of origin” was hosted by the Assembly of French Expatriates at the French Foreign Ministry in Paris on 30 September. Ean attended the meeting, along with a number of fellow members of the Europeans Throughout the World, and delegates from 24 of the 27 EU nations. Besides Ean Director Noreen Bowden, other Irish attendees included an official from the Irish consulate in Paris and Pat Cox, the former president of the European Parliament. There were approximately 175 participants in total.
The event was aimed at bringing together emigrant Europeans to work toward a European policy for those Europeans living outside their country of origin. Two roundtable discussions focused on “Better apprehending the Europe of Justice and European Administration” and “Giving European citizens better protection”. The event was addressed by several high-ranking French officials, including Bernard Kouchner, the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs; and Xavier Bertrand, the Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Solidarity.
The day of lively discussion resulted in a declaration that included the following proposals:
- Universal justice for all Europeans
- A European diplomatic and consular network
- A “European referent” in national public services
- A web portal “expateurope.eu”
- A European civilian and military rapid intervention force (to protect expats in the event of natural disaster or civil or military conflict).
- Harmonised access to healthcare for all Europeans
- European education with a universal dimension
- European recognition of individual retirement entitlements
- Entitlement to vote in European elections
- Political recognition in European institutions for Europeans resident outside their country of origin
The declaration was passed by consensus. Organisers pledged that this would be the first of many such meetings to be held at least annually and hosted as part of the EU presidency. These meetings will bring together representatives of member states to evaluate policy affecting Europeans residing outside their country of origin.