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Your Europe Advice (YEA)
(former Citizens' Signpost Service - CSS)

The Your Europe Advice service is a Europe - wide service that offers citizens specific and tailored information and advice on their rights under internal market rules - as well as signposting where appropriate to an authority or other body (official or independent, at EU, national, or local level that should be able to resolve the problem concretely).

ECAS has successfully been running the YEA for DG Market since 2002. The YEA service was first launched in 1996 and constituted one of the main components of the information campaign "Citizens First" aimed at raising citizens' awareness of their rights in the Single Market and helping them to exercise their rights in practice and advice about their rights and opportunities in the EU and its Single Market.

This YEA consists of a multilingual team of some 50 lawyers, which handles over 12,000 questions each year. It is the single largest database Europe works for the citizen. From the cases received, the team produces feedback reports on residence rights, social security, recognition of qualifications and "how to defend one's rights". ECAS gained in capability and know-how from this interactive system.

The YEA is open to all citizens of the 27 European Union (EU) Member States, plus the European Economic Area (EEA) - Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. As mentioned above, the YEA enables people to exercise and benefit from their rights and opportunities in the Single Market by providing them, as mentioned above, with practical tailor-made replies in response to individual enquiries about free movement and citizens' rights within the EU and the EEA.

The main topics it covers are:
• working in another EU country
• living in another EU country
• studying in another EU country
• buying goods and services in the Single Market
• travelling in the EU
• enforcing your rights
• equal opportunities for men and women, and
• data protection.

Contacts:
Free phone: 00 800 67 89 10 11
Website: http://ec.europa.eu/citizensrights/  

The YEA is unique in terms of handling a high volume of questions that carry a legal theme, from numerous countries operating in all languages of the EU. Furthermore, replies are provided usually within 3 working days. Finally, the service is free of charge - a major advantage in comparison with individualised advice provided by commercial undertakings. The service can therefore be considered a must-know for all citizens encountering problems when exercising their Single Market rights.

By providing the Commission with information about citizens' enquiries received, YEA also helps the Commission to form a better understanding of the operation of the Internal Market in practice, and to identify issues which may still need to be resolved in order to improve its functioning.

ECAS' role is to provide a strong and experienced management structure. ECAS believes that, people who know the subject matter are best suited to running a project of this kind. That is why the management coordinator is also a legal expert. It is important that the YEA service benefits from the host organisation so that the project manager works alongside ECAS' director. Two experienced legal experts for quality control and training respectively, assist the Project Manager. Administrative co-ordination is the responsibility of an experienced organiser with good communication skills. Together with the project management by ECAS' in house lawyer, we have a team able to motivate the legal experts and ensure deadlines are met. There is also a non-executive member of the team to assist the project manager of the team with contract compliance.

The donor of the project is DG Internal Market
http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/index_en.htm

 


Direct Advice Scheme

The Direct Advice Scheme is a branch of the YEA service which aims to provide citizens with general information on their rights and obligations within the framework of the Internal Market, and to assist them with problems relating to Internal Market rights and its application in domestic law, including communication problems with competent authorities. Advice given to citizens shall include information about remedies available under EU or national law. Where appropriate, the citizen will be directed to more specialised bodies at either European level or national level. The Direct Advice experts are based in the respective EC Representations and they also provide citizens with face-to-face advice.

It was first piloted in Dublin, Ireland in July 2009 with a second legal expert starting in Berlin, Germany in September of the same year. There are now a total of four experts, the additional experts working in Madrid, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal. These experts began work on 1st January 2010 and 1st March 2010 respectively.

The European Commission is satisfied with the high standard of work and success the current experts have achieved.

SOLVIT

As mentioned above, the role of YEA involves, where applicable, signposting to other relevant organisations. The YEA has strong links with the SOLVIT network which operates at a European rather than a national level.

The collaboration between the two services operates in both directions; the YEA experts signpost citizens to a SOLVIT centre when SOLVIT is competent to deal with their enquiry; and, since 2009, SOLVIT and YEA have started a new co-operation. SOLVIT can ask YEA experts legal questions when legal advice is necessary on EU law matters.

The pilot project started in May 2009 with SOLVIT centres in ten EU countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta and Slovenia, and then was expanded to include all SOLVIT centres.




 
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