To kick off our new ECAS Highlight of the Week section, we are bringing into focus an article published on the Friends of Europe website. ECAS Executive Director Assya Kavrakova was asked to reflect on the impact COVID-19 has had on freedom of movement in the EU – the fundamental freedom most affected by the current crisis.
While acknowledging that the measures taken by Member States in response to COVID-19 have presented challenges for all citizens, the article highlights an issue that has largely been ignored in the ongoing political discourse – that mobile EU citizens have been disproportionately affected.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has also revealed the gravity of the deficiencies in the social security coordination between member states. This, again, has had a devastating impact on the rights of mobile EU citizens who are quarantined, sick, suspended from their jobs, or required to telework abroad. Many cross-border workers or citizens who have just started a job in another EU country became trapped in a foreign state without access to healthcare or sickness benefits in case of illness”.
The above example is one of many that has exposed the “cracks in European unity”, as Member States quickly reverted to unilateral decisions at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic. However, in order to safeguard the EU’s fundamental rights and freedoms in the post-crisis period, there is a vital need for a coordinated response by all stakeholders:
“The European institutions will need the active support and commitment of its member states in order to succeed. The latter can only be ensured if there is a broad multi-stakeholder consensus behind it: citizens, civil society, academia and business must all advocate for European unity based on fundamental rights and freedoms”.
The original article can be viewed here.
In light of the developments mentioned by Ms Kavrakova in her article, ECAS is launching an in-depth research project to evaluate:
- the impact COVID-19 measures are having on freedom of movement
- national measures and their effects on citizen rights
- citizens’ views and experiences about the executive changes that resulted in the limitations of their rights and freedom to move in the EU
The carried out research will feed into a policy paper featuring the results and recommendations about the restoration of the freedom of movement and the European citizens’ rights to the status quo.
ECAS would like to extend an invitation to Civil Society Organisations who would like to collaborate on the research. If you are interested to do so, please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The research project will be carried out in the framework of the Mobility and Political Rights Enhancement for EU Citizens (MORE) project.