The Single Market offers countless opportunities to citizens and businesses alike. But do they really know their rights?
To get the most out of the Single Market, it has to be made sure that citizens and enterprises intending to carry out cross-border activities within the European Union find the information they need easily.
This is the declared goal of Your Europe, a multilingual public information service portal which acts as a single gateway to all further sources of information and help, at both EU and national level. In order to better serve its users, it is structured into two sections, one for citizens and one for businesses. The content is supplied by both the European institutions and national governments - is clear, straightforward and jargon-free (reflecting people's situations, not the Commission's organisational structure).
By actively contributing to the portal, promoting the tool and closing the information gap, Member States help remove barriers to mobility and integration in Europe.
Performance per indicator
Indicator : Answers received from Editorial Board members to requests for information to be published on both the citizens' and business sections of Your Europe (red – no answers received, yellow – answers received in part, green – all answers received). National information provided up to 31/05/2014 has been taken into consideration.
Indicator : Attendance at two Editorial Board meetings during the reporting period (red – neither of the meetings attended, yellow – one meeting attended, green – both meetings attended)
Indicator : Traffic from government pages to Your Europe and promotional activity requested from the Members of the Editorial Board (red – no traffic and no reported promotional activity, yellow – traffic or reported promotional activity, green – traffic and reported promotional activities)
A country's overall performance is calculated by assigning the following values to each of its 3 individual indicators: red = 0, yellow = 1 and green = 2. The average is calculated and then converted to the relevant colour.
This chart shows to what extent Member States contribute to Your Europe. While a number of countries are already contributing and promoting the tool, a more active approach from Greece, Latvia, and Slovenia would be desirable.
Your Europe - Visits per country
The 2 sections of the site, Your Europe-Citizens and Your Europe-Business, together attracted 6 497 312 visits (as compared to 4 078 312 during the previous period). This means about 17 800 visits a day on average (11 000 previously).
Most visitors to Your Europe-Citizens were from Italy, the UK and Germany (Italy, UK and Spain during the previous period). Most visitors to Your Europe-Business were from Italy, the UK and Spain (Italy, Spain and Poland previously).
The Your Europe website is a prime example of a tool that provides, in a single place, comprehensive EU-wide information in a modern and user-friendly way. It is available in 23 languages (all EU languages except Irish, with the business section also covering Norwegian).
- In time for 1 July 2013 Your Europe expanded its language coverage to Croatian, to inform the new EU citizens about their rights in the Single Market following Croatia's accession.
- The business section has been entirely revamped in respect of European content and Your Europe Business is now made up of the following sections: Start-up & Grow, VAT & Customs, Selling abroad, Staff, Product requirements, Funding, Public contracts and Environment. Each section comprises at least 3 subsections. Where relevant, practical business information will be added in due course.
- There are some key additions to the citizens' section: travellers get to know about their rights as bus and boat passengers, consumers are now getting information on what to do if treated unfairly by a trader and patients learn about their rights to get medical treatment in another Member State.
As a result of web rationalisation within the Commission, the travel section has accommodated content from the now closed website 'Travelling in Europe', namely on 'money and charges' and 'safety'. Two sections, 'work and retirement' and 'residence formalities' have undergone a thorough revamp to rationalise information and allow for a better user-experience. In view of the 2014 elections to the European Parliament, the respective pages on voting rights in municipal and EP elections have been revised and updated.
Additional information on national rules has been made available on Your Europe-Citizens (relating to residence formalities, taxes, cross-border health care). On Your Europe-Business the national content of 18 countries has been updated and links have been corrected for 15 countries. Further to the revamp of the EU level content of Your Europe-Business, the national content will be redefined as well.
- An increasing number of users access the portal from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets: at the launch of the mobile version for the citizens section in June 2012 only 6 % of visitors came from mobile devices, whereas this number has now increased to more than 20 %. The business section will go mobile as from mid-2014.
- In September 2013 the Commission issued a Communication "Empowering businesses and citizens in Europe’s single market: An Action Plan for boosting Your Europe in cooperation with the Member States". On the one hand, it sets out the Commission’s plans to further bolster, develop and promote Your Europe as a gateway to all the information and help businesses and individuals need to make use of their EU rights in the Single Market. On the other hand it calls on Member States to provide practical information on the way EU rights apply in practice. Furthermore, it recognises that joint efforts are needed to make Your Europe better known to people in need of information.
- In December 2013 the Competitiveness Council welcomed the Commission’s Action Plan to boost the Your Europe portal and invited the Member States to provide the necessary information about relevant national rules and procedures.
In February 2014 the European Parliament voted a report in which it welcomed the aims set out in the Your Europe Action Plan and urged the Member States to provide information on national rules and procedures regarding EU rights.
- As regards cooperation between Your Europe and national portals, the Action Plan proposes three different models for content-sharing:
- provision of information through web forms.
The Commission has created the technical means to accommodate all three options so that Member States have the choice to select the most appropriate and resource-effective model.
Facts and Figures
Interest in and use of Your Europe is still growing fast, with over 540 000 visits a month during the reporting period (compared to 340 000 during the previous period).
User satisfaction remains high, as confirmed by online surveys addressed to users of both the citizens and the business sections: 87 % (business) and 92 % (citizens) of users say that they are satisfied or very satisfied with the portal.
Your Europe visits
As a large number of portal visitors access the pages through search engines or online references, the promotional activities focused on raising awareness of Your Europe online. Throughout 2013, the citizens section was promoted through online advertisements and involvement in relevant blogs and forums. The business section was promoted through an online advertising campaign at the end of 2013.
Visits per topic: YE - Citizens
Visits per topic: YE - Business