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Your Europe Advice

Your Europe Advice is an EU-run advisory service answering citizens’ and businesses’ queries (by phone or online) about their EU rights in the Single Market. It relies on a network of about 60 legal experts who handle enquiries in all 24 official EU languages.

Your Europe Advice and the Single Market – why does it matter?

By answering citizens’ and businesses’ queries, Your Europe Advice plays an important role in identifying those areas of the Single Market where progress is needed. Not only does it inform citizens about their rights in the EU, but it also provides the European Commission with important information about areas where the Single Market is not operating as well as it should. The data collected by the service provides important evidence. There are more than 350.000 cases stored in the Your Europe Advice database which can be easily exploited by European Commission services for policy-making and as feedback on the current status of the Single Market.

Key messages

  • Your Europe Advice as the “human face of EU law” assists citizens and businesses to fully benefit from their personal EU rights.
  • Your Europe Advice – free of charge, quick and reliable.
  • Increased need of legal advice.

Facts and figures

Running the service

Service efficiency is measured primarily by the speed of replies. The aim is to reply to enquiries within 3 working days. About 95,9% of replies are sent within that deadline and 99,2% within 4 working days.

Speed of replies

 

Service effectiveness is measured by testing the quality of the replies through randomly selected samples of 10% of cases each month. Each sample case is assessed according to the following 9 substantial or formal criteria agreed with the Commission:

substantial (content)formal (style)
relevanceexpression
accuracyfocus
completenessstructure
legal referencepersonal
enabling (signposting) 

Replies are found to provide comprehensive and accurate advice on the issues in question. Completeness is an important criterion as many enquiries are rather complex.

Particular attention is paid to the user-friendliness of replies, such as tailor-made answers, clear structures and easily understandable language (no EU or legal jargon).

Total annual enquiries

 

Between 2009 and 2014, the number of enquiries nearly doubled and remained on a high level in the following years. After a slight decrease in 2017, the number of enquiries went up by 1% in 2018, but nearly exploded in 2019 with a total of 35 064 enquiries of which 28 062 were eligible. This meant an increase of 52% compared to the previous year or five times more than in 2003 or 2004. However, the rate of eligible enquiries sank from 84% to 80%. In 2020 the total number of enquiries decreased slightly by 5.8% to 33.038 of which 24 009 were eligible. This means a clear drop of eligible enquiries to only 72,7%.

Enquiries by type of user

 

Enquiries by nationality

 

Enquiries by subject area (% of total enquiries)

 

The main subject areas stayed the same as in previous years: social security, residence rights, and entry procedures. Enquiries about consumer rights slightly increased as did enquiries from businesses.

2020 was characterized by two specific situations: Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

8% of all eligible enquiries concerned Brexit: rights of EU citizens in the UK and rights of UK nationals in the EU. An important number of theses enquiries concerned entry procedures, residence rights and social security issues.

9,5% of all eligible enquiries were related to the COVID-19 pandemic with a peak of 30% of enquiries in April 2020. These enquiries concerned many different topics such as passenger rights, other consumer rights, travel restrictions, residence rights and visa as well as work-related issues (e.g. social security questions linked to teleworking).

All these findings show where people’s real problems with the single market lie.

The number of business related enquiries saw a slight increase to 16,8%. The main topics of these enquiries were free movement of goods, CE Mark and standards, VAT, free movement of workers (especially posting of workers), and social security.

Priorities

  • ensure that experts continue to provide high quality replies
  • continue cooperation with SOLVIT, Europe Direct and other networks
  • further improve quality and user-friendliness
  • contribute to improving the Your Europe Portal
  • further explore the use of interactive tools for delivering advice
  • better exploit the wealth of information in the database

Achievements

  • After a slight decrease in 2017, the number of enquiries went up by 1% in 2018, there was an important increase of 52% in 2019 with a total of 35 064 enquiries of which 28 062 were eligible. 2020 saw a decease of 5,8% and a relative increase of ineligible enquiries.
  • The timeliness and quality of replies is being maintained even though the questions put to Your Europe Advice are increasingly specific and complex.
  • Quality controls of experts’ replies continue to be very strict.
  • Your Europe Advice’s experts have received a 2-days in-house online training seminar on new EU law
  • Feedback reporting is carried out each quarter and is based on legal analysis of the problem areas identified in the enquiries Your Europe Advice receives. The system for reporting feedback is now well established. It provides useful feedback to policy units in the European Commission.
  • Your Europe Advice has continued its cooperation & coordination with the Commission’s related support services (SOLVIT, Europe Direct Contact Centre (EDCC), Your Europe website).
  • Your Europe Advice has significantly contributed to updating and developing the Your Europe Portal.
  • The direct transfer system between Your Europe Advice, SOLVIT and EDCC is working smoothly.

A typical question to “Your Europe Advice”

A Belgian who had worked in France for 4 years lost his job recently. He moved back to Belgium to look for work and wanted to know whether he would receive unemployment benefits from the French or the Belgian social security system.

Your Europe Advice told him that France – where he had last worked – was responsible for examining his right to unemployment benefit under national law. French unemployment benefit could be transferred to Belgium for up to 3 months, with the option of one renewal.

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