The Single Market offers innumerable possibilities to citizens and businesses. But do they really know about their rights?
In order to exploit the full potential 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 easily find the information they need.
This is the declared goal of Your Europe, a multilingual public information service portal. It acts as a single gateway to all further sources of information and help, at both EU and national level. In order to better assist 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 and presented in clear and simple terms, without jargon and in a cross-cutting manner (reflecting people's situation, not the Commission's organisational structure).
By actively contributing to the portal, promoting the tool and closing the information gap, Member States help overcoming barriers to mobility and integration in Europe.
Indicator : Answers received from Editorial Board members to requests for information to be published on the citizens and business part of Your Europe (red – no answers received, yellow – answers partly received, green – all answers received)
Indicator : Participation in two Editorial Board meetings during the reporting period (red – none of the meetings attended, yellow– one meeting attended, green – both meetings attended, upgrade of color for participation in content syndication project)
Indicator : Information requested from the Members of the Editorial Board (no reported promotional activity – red, some reported promotional activity – yellow, extensive reported promotional activities – green)
A country's overall performance is calculated by attributing the following values to each of its three 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 to Your Europe and promoting the tool, a more active approach would be expected from Greece, Latvia, the Netherlands and Slovakia.
The two sections of the site, Your Europe-Citizens and Your Europe-Business together attracted 4 078 312 visits (compared to 2 388 985 during the period 3/2012 - 2/2013), thus more than 11 000 visits a day on average (compared to 6 500 previously).
Most visitors to Your Europe-Citizens came from Italy, UK, Spain (compared to Italy, Germany and Spain during the period 3/2012 - 2/2013). Most visitors to Your Europe-Business came from Italy, Spain and Poland (compared to Italy, Germany and Spain previously).
237 visits to Your Europe Citizens and 59 visits to Your Europe Business came from Liechtenstein. Given these relatively low numbers they were omitted from the chart in order to maintain a reasonable scale.
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 in 22 languages.
- A new mobile version of Your Europe-Citizens allows an increasing number of users to visit the portal on their mobile devices (smart phones, tablets,…) having optimal access to all relevant information even from remote places. Moreover, it gives users seamless access to the Europe Direct Contact Centre, via a simple click on the phone number. The mobile version is currently being used by around 12 % of all visitors.
- The content of Your Europe-Citizens has been improved over the past year: For workers, there is more exhaustive information on EU and national rules as well as FAQs; mobile citizens can consult updated information on travel,students get better information about fees and grants and vehicles, and consumers are given more complete information about their online rights and how they are protected against unfair commercial practices.
The information on EU rules in the business section is being thoroughly revamped, to make it more user-friendly and relevant for businesses. The revamped pages will be online by the autumn of 2013. The Access2EUFinance site has been incorporated in Your Europe-Business. It is a single gateway to the EU financial instruments with contact details to banks and venture capital funds that offer financing to SMEs supported by the EU and European Investment Bank (worth 100 billion euro for 2007-2013).
Additional information on national rules has been made available on Your Europe-Citizens (concerning physiotherapists, taxes and vehicles); a revision of national information for Your Europe-Business is planned for 2013.
The collaborative approach for Your Europe allows Member States to publish information on the implementation of EU rights for citizens and enterprises on their territory on Your Europe in 22 official languages: a pilot project for the automatic transfer of national information to Your Europe (content syndication) was completed successfully, and its outcome is now being analysed and discussed with Member States. Content syndication avoids duplication and ensures coherence in the information provided at EU and national level.
Facts and Figures
The interest in and use of Your Europe is still growing fast: during the reporting period, more than 11 000 visitors per day consulted the information available on the portal (compared to 6 500 the year before).
Visitors tend to find Your Europe more easily thanks to the more mature status of the portal, the related better positioning in search engines and targeted promotion actions (increase in spring thanks to a joint promotion campaign with Europe Direct, and promotion throughout the year through social media presence, stakeholders, TV clips).
Inter-operability of EU level information with national information remains a challenge. An action plan is being prepared, which will focus on this point, as well as on how to complete EU level information and how to raise more awareness of Your Europe.