No 12 (May 98/Mai 98/Mai 98)
ACTUALITÉ DU MARCHÉ UNIQUE
Citizens First Update|
Results of Phase II for all Member States
With the main media campaign for the Second Phase of Citizens First
nearly completed, the first results are now available. Citizens First is an
initiative to increase awareness about the rights and opportunities people have
in the EU and its Single Market and to help those who have difficulties
exercising these rights (see SMN N.8, 10 and 11). Phase II of the initiative
covers the issues "Buying Goods and Services in the Single Market, Travelling
in the EU and Equal Opportunities". Also still available are Guides and
Factsheets on Phase I themes: "Working, Living and Studying in another country
of the EU".
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EU citizens can obtain details on their rights and the opportunities available
to them in the Single Market in two main ways. Firstly, more than 24 million
Guides on the six themes of Citizens First have been distributed through
European and Member State information networks. Secondly citizens can take up
direct contact by telephone and by Internet. It appears that, where people have
Internet easily at hand, they normally prefer this means of access rather than
using the telephone. As the spread of Internet varies greatly from Member State
to Member State, to get an idea of direct response to the initiative the two
means of access are looked at together.
- The first chart gives the total direct response to the initiative
in each Member State, measuring calls to the Citizens First call centre and
Internet response. The Internet figures are estimates, based on the number of
times the front page of each national section in the Internet site has been
- In the second chart this same information is presented
proportionally. In absolute numbers the highest response to the initiative has
come from Italy (30%), Spain (17%) and France (15%).
- In the third chart the figures have been adjusted to take into
account the population of the country. From this chart it is clear that
proportionally response has been highest in Ireland followed by Spain and
Italy. Despite large actual differences between the Member States, the chart
shows that there is a significant direct response to the Citizens First
initiative in all Member States.
Regarding the use of the Internet in the next chart. A very interesting
statistic is the proportion of response by telephone and by Internet. Over the
last year there has been a tremendous growth in the use and the access to
Internet, especially in the Nordic countries, but increasingly elsewhere. Over
the EU on average 30% of the response has been by Internet, from 16% in Italy
to just over 70% in Sweden.
If citizens have detailed questions about their rights in the Single Market
they can turn to the Citizens First Signpost Service for advice on what
to do next. To 8 April, 9640 questions have been asked by citizens. A full
analysis of the Single Market issues dealt with by the Signpost Service will be
included in the next issue of the Single Market Scoreboard.
What is Citizens First?
Citizens First is an initiative to increase awareness about the rights people have in
the EU and its Single Market and to help those who have difficulties exercising
The initiative has been built around major themes. Phase 1, launched in
November 1996, covered the rights all EU citizens have regarding living,
working and studying in another Member State. Phase II, which has recently been
launched, covers the issues "buying goods and services", "travelling" and
"equal opportunities between men and women".
Printed information on people's rights is produced in two forms - Guides and
Factsheets. Guides are short documents, designed to give a general, easy to
understand overview of citizens rights on each of the major themes. Factsheets
are much more detailed and country specific documents, covering points such as
how to obtain a residence card, how to get your diploma recognised, what to do
about overbooking or unfair contract terms.
Guides are available at a wide range of distribution points and also by phone
and Internet. All information is available in 11 official languages of the EU.
Factsheets can be obtained by phone, accessed directly on the Internet, or by
using the order form contained in each Guide.
If people have problems exercising their rights they can turn to the Signpost
Service (through the same freephone number or http://citizens.eu.int). The
Signpost Service consists of a team of experts who can help citizens find their
way through the EU, national or local administrations.
The Signpost Service currently receives more than 150 enquires every day. Many
questions come from young people interested in further study, job seeking and
having their diplomas recognised.
For more information,
(+32 2) 296 70 01
FAX: (+32 2) 295 43 51
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