Today we published our new policy paper “Destitute EU Mobile Citizens,” an update to our previous paper on this topic published in 2014. This updated document includes relevant information about the situation of EU mobile citizens throughout the pandemic, best practice examples from our members, and recommendations for national and EU level policymakers to improve the situation of EU mobile citizens at risk of or living in situations of destitution.
The paper consolidates and details the challenges faced by destitute EU mobile citizens based on the perspectives of our members, including the racism and discrimination, expressed as antigypsyism, endured by Roma EU mobile citizens. The mobile citizens our members are working with are vulnerable to homelessness, destitution and exploitation. They fall between the gaps in social security systems because of a lack of harmonisation across the EU, administrative hurdles, lack of reliable information and the failure of member states to fully extend to people their rights as citizens of the EU. In these gaps, mobile citizens can become invisible, and their plight marginalised. This further feeds a cycle of exclusion in which there is a deficiency of information, services and effective policies.
Across the EU, a patchwork of services, provided by NGOs and CSOs, has stepped in to fill this void. These services, while necessary, are insufficient to meet the long-term needs of EU mobile citizens, which require sustainable approaches for national and local authorities, backed up by coherent EU policy. Many Eurodiaconia members have stepped in to fill these gaps and have developed strong programmes that provide valuable services to mobile citizens. In many cases, these programmes have been established for a number of years and our members have built expertise on the needs of mobile citizens and can pinpoint where the gaps are in national and EU level legislation. This publication draws on these experiences to propose policy solutions and best practices to respond to the current deficiencies.
Utilising this policy paper, Eurodiaconia will work with our members to advocate for better EU coordination to protect the rights of EU mobile citizens, especially as it relates to upcoming and ongoing EU initiatives on homelessness, access to services, and responding to challenges to free movement that have been brought about due to the ongoing pandemic.
* Photo Credit: Stockholm City Mission