Welcome to the Citizens are Speaking (TCAS) Group Blog

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3rd August 2015

Welcome to the Citizens Are Speaking (TCAS) Blog.  TCAS is a Europe for Citizens Project which will be carried out between August 2015 and August 2016.

The aim of this project is to engage European Union (EU) citizens on the currently highly debatable issue of immigration, with a view to encourage civic participation of citizens at Union level. The issue of immigration gained prominence as a result of the instability in the European neighbourhood area. This project will address the gap in the EU’s integration policy, including the rise in xenophobia that has increased during these last years, and the promotion of opportunities for inter-cultural engagement and volunteering at Union level.

As a result of this project, we believe that there will be change in attitudes when dealing with Third-country nationals (TCNs) and there will be more active involvement of policy makers at all levels to spearhead policy changes, to have standardized procedures throughout EU member states on how certain issues are handled. The project will include a volunteering activity, the publication of a book with personal experiences as cited by TCNs and two conferences, one in Malta and the final one in Slovenia. The conferences will cover the topics discussed in:

  • The European Neighbourhood instrument;
  • The communication paper on European Agenda for integration of TCNs;
  • Commission Staff working paper on EU initiatives supporting the integration of TCNs;
  • European Agenda for Migration; and
  • Handbook on Integration for policy-makers and practitioners.

This project is led by Cross Cultural International Foundation, will include participants from Malta, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Italy (whose logos are displayed below). The participants will come from different backgrounds, including educators, religious leaders, students, professionals, academics, politicians, minority groups and people from all walks of life. The outcomes from the project will be channelled to the policy makers, migrant lobby groups, MEPs, and national politicians from participating Member States.

The purpose of this blog is to frame policy debates on the future direction of the European  Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the issue of migration and TCNs. The aim is to consult as widely as possible with stakeholders across the EU. We will consult with civil society and think tanks, and from the social partners, business and academic communities. Interested members of the public will also have an opportunity to submit written contributions via this blog and through focus groups and discussions in various Member States. The consultation on these documents is foreseen until the end of June 2016 when we wind up the project and submit our findings.

Please feel free to log in and share your ideas, concerns, issues that are bothering you as European citizens. Please note that this is a public forum, we will not tolerate any kind of hate speech or any comments that may be considered libellous. “We reserve the right to edit correspondence and to remove potentially libellous statements”

18th August 2016

The end to TCAS is here!   

The two outcomes from “The Citizens are Speaking” Project have been published, and distributed to all stakeholders. A big thank you to all our amazing partners and participants – you were a fantastic team. Thank you all for making our very first Europe for Citizens 2014-2020 programme a success. We had never had so many partners in one project, which was a big learning curve for us. The lessons learnt will go a long way in shaping the future of CCIF Malta and enhancing future projects. We are delighted to present to you the outcomes of this project. Please follow the links here.



TCAS Policy Recommendations (click to view PDF)


TCAS Migrant Stories Book (click to view PDF)












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16 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. Initiative such as these are certainly a positive step forward to rising with the challenges posed by the dilemma of mass immigration. I myself, would certainly look forward to actively participate in such initiatives as this issue is something that even the everyday common citizen can do something about.

    Having that said, I like to also take this opportunity to raise an objection to the use of terms such as “Third country nationals” for the reason that the very term itself is contradictory to the positive goals of this project and other alike. Such labels would initially result in the social marginalization, stigmatization and victimization of any immigrant from third-world countries as being the assumption that they are all disadvantaged in one form or another. Such labels pose the adverse effect to social inclusion, integration and even employment amongst other factors.


    • Thank you for commenting and your observations about TCNs.
      According to the EU fund for the ‘Integration of Third Country Nationals’ (INTI) a ‘third-country national’ is ‘any person who is not a citizen of the EU within the meaning of Article 17(1) of the Treaty’ – under current Article 20 TFEU only nationals of the member states are Union citizens. In other words for example in Malta we have expatriates working here from around the globe who have residency permits to stay but are not EU citizens by virtue of them having to seek visas and work permits, whereas EU citizens don’t do so. On the contrary to what you said TCNs are migrants coming from countries that do not form part of the EU. Read this article for further information.


      • You must have misunderstood some of what I said.

        I wasn’t referring to which countries (EU or non-EU) fall under the criteria of “Third country Nations” at all.

        But I see where you’re coming from and thanks for quoting the legislation. The fact that it’s actually a legal term (which I honestly wasn’t aware of) certainly gives rise to serious issues.


      • Good to hear that you have learnt something new from this. Now you are mentioning that there are some serious issues, what are these issues? Lets talk about them and even form public debates about them if warranted.


  2. This is a great project which is timely too. The issue of immigration has been on the agenda for years but yet there is so much to be done in order to improve the situations of migrants where they reach ta their countries of destination. However we urgently need to have an open discussion on the crisis in the Mediterranean, its sad and very worrying to see so many people die on the sea in search of better life- before they reach to country of destination. This is one current hot issue that we should include in our discussion, how can we help in order to save lives?. I am so happy that Wezesha is part of this project and I look forward to sharing of ideas and views.

    thanks Salome

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These days, all shocking news are coming out of the tragedy of the refugees, a crissis beyond the magnitude of human imagination after the II world war. Citizens across Europe are participating in both sides, majority in assisting them, others opposing it. Unless the the tragedy is set at the global level and root causes of migration are dealt, the push and pull factors are addresses, tragedy will continue and humanity will die. Though important, the quick fix will fail to provide a sustainable solutions. Engaiging and encouraging citizens to have a say and be heard is one of the different way to dialogue each other, address the pros and cons of poeple and bring a meaningful and common understanding as well as commitiment to solving it is the ambitious project we all are in; a timely project needed at this moment. I hope it will enrich the debate and contribute to dicision makers and beneficieries. Keep on.
    Best, Tanja Leskovar – IAS, Slovenia

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the biggest challenges for us, partners of this project, will be the struggle against the way media tends to please/orient public opinion in the way news are presented. In Italy last week an asylum seeker has murdered a couple of Italians and now there’s a lot of visibility for anyone accusing the government of being responsible for this murder just because in Italy we are of course receiving high numbers of asylum seekers (but still relatively very low ones if compared to the refugees situation in the whole Europe/Middle East & Africa movements). Meanwhile an immigrant was killed by some Italian robbers while trying to stop them in a local shop with which he had noting to spare. Basically an “hero”. The main comments this fact (pretty much hidden in the news) received was that he “should have minded his own business and not put his life at risk”… This probably can give the magnitude of the effort to change the attitudes of the “public opinion” and stakeholders.


  5. Anybody ever wondered why they didn’t go towards east instead of west? There are the Emirates, Dubai, full of the richest folk in the globe, same culture, not to mention they understand each other’s language…. Nope, they march thousands of kilometers to the west instead.
    And STOP with the term: refugees already. They stopped being refugees when they REFUSED to go to the refugee camps until things cool down at home. There they get all the help they NEED. Food, shelter, medical attention. But that is not what they WANT. Which includes a house a car with a few thousand euros on a monthly basis. And that they can only hope from Germany. Or so they think.
    If my house is on fire, I leave it of course, don’t want to be burned… The neighbour offers me to live in their garage but since I’m out I guess I could venture a bit further, just a few streets, then a couple districts to where the rich folks live. Then I illegally BRAKE IN to one of the villas there, and if anyone ask me why I’m ROBBING their home (their presence cost a lot you know and they didn’t ask the Hungarians, they just came in. That is money taking whether the other like it or not. The definition of ROBBERY), So then I’m just gonna say, that my house is on fire so what could I do? Yeah I guess I could’ve live in the garage until the flames cool off, but… there is no angus steak there and my kid also wants to play the Xbox…
    Hungary should gather as much trains to the station as phisically possible, to ALL the tracks and ship the immigrants to Germany at once. The keyword here is AT ONCE. Let them go to Münich and let them hear it from the germans that they need to go back to Hungary, Romania and Greece in the name of EU’s shared responsibility to accomodate hundreds of thousands of people. At that point Frau Merkel will have a full fledged JIHAD in his own homeground and her worst fear will become a reality: she will have to get HER OWN HANDS DIRTY. From that point nobody will care what regulation was overstepped by Hungary when they started those trains, the news will be all about germany returning to their “old ways”.
    As many Eastern European cities, Budapest also have a legion of the homeless. It’s a shame and a pity. What is worse, that they don’t get ANY help, no food, no shelter, no medical assistance, no nothing. They don’t even get any eyecontact and living like ghosts. Suddenly 120.000 syrians and afghans appeared without papers and they got all that in an instant… While the homeless are struggling every day, eating from the dumpster and living under the bridge. And you know what is the worst and the saddest: They are hungarians.
    Do care to actually give some thought to this.


    • Very interesting points you have brought up Vamzer. Could you please enlighten us as to what sort of humanitarian help that is on the ground in the Middle East? What is the situation like in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon? Places like Saudi Arabia, UAE etc arent they offering any help and yet they all have the facilities and means to help their fellow neighbours.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The nations mentioned by you aren’t offering any help. Turkey has well built refugee camps though but for some reason they only pass that place by towards Europe.
        And just to clear the misunderstandings regarding the terms:
        When they arrive to Turkey they are: refugees. They came from a place in conflict. But from Turkey (or Serbia) their life is NOT in danger anymore. IF they continue to march on towards Austria to Germany, passing Hungary for example where they also don’t want to stay, they should not be called refugees, from that point they are just economical immigrants.


      • From what I gather from just gleaning from newspapers is that although the Syrians are recognised as refugees in Turkey, it is still not a place where the Syrians can settle for the long haul whilst war is raging on in their country. On the other hand Turkey does not grant Syrians work permits which means they lack the right to gainful employment as enshrined by the 1951 refugee convention. This is in sharp contrast to Europe where they are granted refugees status and with it comes the right to employment. In my opinion I think its not appropriate to call the Syrians economic migrants when they leave Turkey and are on European soil because they are still refugees without papers and a right to freedom and as such are regarded as vulnerable people and are still refugees which separates them from economic migrants who are risking their lives for a better life and not for the sake of finding a sanctuary to live a life that is free from war – you can shoot me down but that’s how I view this whole thing hence we have this debate to try and come up with workable solutions.


      • Have to correct myself having not read your comment as carefully as I should. Jordan and Libanon also have the refugee camps. it’s just the richer nations around that doesn’t do their part like UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia. They don’t get any refugee’s – at least according to the UN. Same goes for eastern nations like Russia, S.Korea or Singapore.


    • So how can we make others understand that we can use immigration to our advantage? The reason so many people are up in arms against migrants is that they are saying that migrants are taking away their jobs? Is that true? And if that is true what are the solutions that we are European citizens can suggest to Policy makers and other stakeholders to make our lives better and live side by side with migrants in harmony?


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