Votes for Expat Brits
   Home      Reports from international meetings


Reports from international meetings on the rights of expats

Europe in Movement Meeting - Paris, 30 September 2008


Representatives of the expat communities of 24 EU countries met at the French
Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris on 30 September 2008 to examine the issues
affecting the EU’s 20 million or so citizens who live in a different member state
from their country of origin. These 20 million expats embody the EU’s founding
principle that gives European citizens the freedom to live and work in any member
state of the EU. Although that founding principle is clear and undisputed, many of
those who have availed themselves of the right to live and work in another member
state have often found themselves deprived of their basic rights.


Several MPs representing their own countries’ expats, diplomats, MEPs and
ministers were also present. Among them were Bernard Kouchner, the French
Foreign Minister, Xavier Bertrand, the French Labour Minister, former French
ministers Alain Lamassoure, Catherine Lalumière and Jacques Barrot, the latter
also then Vice-President of the European Commission. Enrique Baron Crespo
and Pat Cox, both former Presidents of the EuropeanParliament, also spoke.


With some 2.3 million expats of their own, the French were clearly showing that
they take expatriate representation very seriously.
The British delegation was successful in having its seven proposals of principle
included in the final declaration, including the following:
Voting rights: No citizens of the EU shall be deprived of the right to vote in national
elections by reason of their place of residence.
Representation of expatriates: Every EU member state shall maintain structures for
the representation of its citizens living abroad.


Europe in Movement Meeting - Rome, April 2011

The follow-up to the Paris Europe on the Move meeting on 30 September 2008 was
held in the Italian Senate in Rome on 30 April 2010. Some 130 participants attended,
representing European communities across the continents.
The meeting was organised by the Consiglio Generale degli Italiani all’Estero (CGIE),
or the General Council of Italians Abroad. The CGIE represents all Italians residing
abroad at all institutions implementing policies affecting them. Italians living abroad
elect 18 national MPs through 124 community committees.


Speakers included prominent members of the Italian Senate and the CGIE, including
the Senate Vice-President and former European Commissioner Senator Emma Bonino,
and Senators Claudio Micheloni and Lamberto Dini. The meeting was coordinated by
the Secretary General of the CGIE, Elio Carozza.


Senator Joelle Garriaud-Maylam of France made a special plea to have voting rights
explicitly mentioned in the final declaration, given that they are denied to British citizens
after 15 years’ residence abroad.