Choose Freedom Q&A

During the time I have been promoting these ECIs I have received comments and feedback from many people.

 

I asked the organiser of "Choose Freedom" for comment/feedback. His comments apply, on the whole, for any ECI...

 

Below I document these discussions:

 

 

14/15th February 2017

 

Comment:

The problem with this is as a UK citizen living in France I can't sign it - if I select France as my country I have to enter either a French passport number or a French identity card number, if I enter the UK as my country I can’t use my French address.

 

Response:

Yes... this is confusing as in English 'come from' implies 'originates from'. It perhaps should say something like 'where do you live'. If you pick 'France', you will be able to vote just as you do in municipal elections using the ID number on your immigrant's carte électorale issued by the mairie. Later on, the form asks for your nationality.

 

The guideline actually state that as a UK citizen residing in France I can’t support it.

 

The legislation setting up this referendum does indeed say that immigrants can't vote in French elections. But that is not quite the case, immigrants can't vote in French 'General' elections, but they can vote in EU and municipal elections.

 

If you pick 'France', you will be able to vote just as you do in municipal elections using the ID number on your immigrant's carte électorale issued by the mairie. Later on, the form asks for your nationality.

 

To make it more interesting, it seems that some cartes électorale have an extra 2 digits at the end, which aren't needed. I think it needs a 12-digit number. I know this works because I have just done it and voted successfully for someone.

 

 

9th March 2017

 

Comment:

Again I have had people say they can’t vote and also that the page doesn’t work on mobile devices…

 

Response:

I'm sorry again, but the voting website is operated by the European Commission. I'm trying to encourage them to improve it, but it seems that even the slightest alteration needs the democratic mandate of 27 countries, which takes f***** ages.

 

It is most frustrating, but hey, keep up the good work

 

The person at the Commission with responsibility for data is Jérôme Stefanini

20th/22nd March 2017

 

Comment:

Really wish they would make the website for this look less like a scam. Maybe sharing the petition link direct is a better bet, it being on europa.eu and all: https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/REQ-ECI-2016-000005/public/index.do

 

Response:

My wife has thoroughly checked this out and confirms it's legit. She's both German and got a bloody good Uni. degree, so she's not stupid and falling for scams so easily!

Oh well if you have a direct line to this guy, I'd also feedback that there's so many icons above the fold I almost missed the vote button, and the word "vote" is quite confusing... isn't this basically a petition we're signing? Sorry if I'm sounding too critical!

He's done a great job to get all this started.

 

The whole voting system is poor, it doesn't even make it clear that it is the European Commission that is hosting this. I'm off to Brussels in a few days and hope to return with something better.

 

'Vote' is correct though - this is not just a petition. When it gets to 1,000,000 there is required to be a be a bill presented to the Parliament. Democracy, I think, at work.

 

 

23rd March 2017

 

Comment:

From: Roger

To: EC ECI OCS

Subject: European Citizens' Initiative

 

https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/REQ-ECI-2016-000005/public/index.do doesn’t work very well (e.g. doesn’t display well on mobile devices) and this is deterring people from signing it! 

 

I know this is probably something you’re already aware, but it is vitally important to EU democracy that the technology used to allow Citizens to vote actually works!

 

Response:

Dear Roger,

the EC is working very hard on delivering a new version of the OCS that will improve the User Experience in general and for the mobile devices in particular- this release is expected before the summer this year

Best regards

27th March/3rd April 2017

 

Comment:

It should be possible for me as a British citizen to vote for initiatives that impact my EU rights (even if I do not currently live in the EU)

 

Response:

Thank you for contacting the EUROPE DIRECT Contact Centre.

 

We wish to inform you that in case you are an EU citizen but you live outside the EU whether you can sign up to an initiative depends on the member state of which you are a national.

 

Depending on the requirements asked by this member state, you may or may not be able to sign up. This is due to the fact that some member states are not able to verify statements of support from their nationals living outside the EU.

 

If you have the possibility to sign up, your statement of support will be counted in your member state of nationality.

 

We would suggest contacting the competent national authority for further information/clarification in relation to this case and the national rules to provide support for European Citizens Initiative (ECI).

 

The list of national authorities is available in the ECI website, including the UK national authority:

http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/authorities-verification

 

We hope this will enable you to obtain the information you need. Please, do not hesitate to contact us again if you have other questions about the European Union, its institutions and activities.

Response:

Not much I can say to the correspondent - other than the www.choosefreedom.eu vote is a real, constitutional vote, not just a petition. The voting rules have been laid down by each individual government and are, for the most part, the same ones applied in a national general election. You should enter the information you use to vote in national elections.

 

 

17th April 2017

 

Well, I'm just back from Brussels, where, to my surprise, our Citizens Initiative is looked on as highly successful - it is rare to have got this far and the number of votes, at this stage, is looked on as perfectly satisfactory. So, well done you all round!

 

It seems that our EU Passport Initiative could be got simply by a resolution of the Parliament, it doesn't need new legislation. So, getting 1M votes may not be strictly necessary at all.

 

All the same, 1,000,00 votes makes a statement, and I look on our ECI as also a very important way of educating the British Public; "Look! Here's the EU democracy you didn't think existed!", so the voting must continue. But to succeed we'll need more help.

 

It is universally agreed that the ECI online voting system is very poor. The commissioner announced that they will bring forward a complete review of the whole legal basis more-or-less immediately, and look towards one, single voting rule for every country, though this will need political approval from 27 governments.

 

I met the hugely helpful MEP Charles Goerens, who is continuing with his campaign for EU Citizenship for UK Citizens, but was extremely impressed with our initiative, most willing to help, and his staff are very enthusiastic. I will approach some people of very high net worth to try to raise funds to set up an office, which Mr Goerens says he is happy to help with, and Mr Goerens staff, will pressure the Commission's programmers to correct coding errors on the voting website.

15th May 2017

 

Comment:

 

Guardian: "EU citizenship deal for British nationals has no chance, say experts

Britons getting special rights in Europe – as supported by EU’s Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt – seen as very unlikely"

 

They are correct, a citizenship deal is impossible as the EU has no rights over citizenship. That is why my proposal for Passports - and with them most of the rights of citizenship - has been accepted by the Court of Commissioners as valid. I am working on the fine details right now