14 million European citizens live in an EU country other than their own. Under current EU rules, EU citizens can vote and stand in municipal and European elections where they reside, but not in regional, national elections, or referendums. Although mobile EU citizens pay their taxes in their country of residence, they are not full and equal members of society due to their partial political rights.
Voter Without Borders believes the EU cannot credibly promote democratic reform across the globe without first fixing the lack of political rights of its mobile citizens. The campaign has one year from September 1st, 2020 to collect one million EU signatures in support of the initiative. Their advocacy paper collects stories, expectations, and demographics of the 14 million EU citizens living abroad in the EU.
“I am one of 250,000 EU citizens living in Vienna - 10% of the population - but despite the fundamental choices to be made, I will not be allowed to vote for the Vienna City Council on 11 October 2020”, says one supporter of Voters Without Borders. Polish, as well as Romanian and Italian citizens abroad, have had issues casting their vote or waiting for ballots to arrive during recent elections in their home countries. These citizens did not have the alternative of voting in their country of residence. Moreover, 3.7 million EU citizens in the UK and 1.3 million UK citizens in the EU were not allowed to vote in the defining Brexit referendum in 2016. Five EU countries still disenfranchise their citizens after certain periods of time abroad.
The initiative is supported by over 50 organizations, as well as MEPs Guy Verhofstadt, Karen Melchior, Damian Boeselager, Dacian Ciolos, Victor Negrescu, Bogdan Deleanu, Jan Christoph Oetjen and Alain Lamassoure.
Citizens can sign at www.voterswithoutborders.eu or through the official Commission site.
For further enquiries regarding the European citizens’ initiative Voters without Borders, please contact:
ECI Representative Anna Comacchio: +49-15773772955
ECI Vice-Representative Claire Dautcourt: +33- 6 87 01 14 88
Citizens’ committee member Alberto Alemanno: +34-616774456
Democracy International supports expanding the voting rights for EU citizens living abroad in the EU and supports the Voters Without Borders European citizens’ initiative. The European Citizens' Inititaive was introduced in 2007 and allows EU citizens to propose legislation to the European Commission. European citizens' inititives, registered in advance with the European Comission, have one year to collect one million signatures within at least seven EU Member States.
For general questions regarding the European Citizens' Initiative please contact:
+49 221 66966531