100,000 Signatures for ECI Reform Handed over to EU Commission

September 7, 2017 News

Thanks to thousands of you who support giving a seat to citizens at the EU decision-making table, there has been more public interest in the European Citizens’ Initiative than ever before!

The ECI Campaign, Democracy International, WeMove.EU, Mehr Demokratie and ECAS teamed together to find areas where the ECI needs work and to encourage citizens to take interest in the revision process. Over 5000 people took part in the Commission’s Public Consultation questionnaire, which was open for 12 weeks and closed on August 16th. The EU Commission currently evaluates the feedbacks and will publicize the results.

Throughout the month of August, we jointly launched a petition demanding that the Commission take the ECI revision process seriously and consider our proposals for reform. Because of you, we were able to collect over 100,000 signatures of support! The remarkable number of citizens who supported the petition sent a clear message to the Commission that Europeans want a strong ECI that works.

Finally, on August 30th, we had a stakeholders’ meeting with First Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, regarding the ECI and our reform proposals. We had a productive exchange of views and handed over more than 100,000 signatures of support for the ECI revision. We reiterated that we welcome an ECI that is more user-friendly, more well-known amongst citizens, and with a stronger follow-up by the Commission for successful ECIs. The Commission expressed that it feels strongly encouraged by us for having reached out to so many citizens to take interest in the ECI, and it was confirmed that the ECI will see a proposal for a revision by the end of the year. Until then we will continue to support the ECI revision by maintaining pressure on the Commission to regard the ECI as important as we do. At the same time it will be crucial to fully exhaust the potential to improve the ECI instrument within the already existing legal framework provided by the current ECI implementing regulation.

“We highly welcome that the Commission launches a tender procedure seeking to identify an external partner to operate an online collaborative platform for the ECI already still in September” sais Carsten Berg, Director of The ECI Campaign. It will be deceisive that for this external partner sufficient room of creativity is available in the implementation of the platform. If it is only about the question of programming a finalized workbook by the Commission it will be difficult to ensure that this platform can exhaust its participation potential. Ideally this new online collaborative patform for the ECI will be co-created with stakeholders. Experience shows for the implementation of successful participation projects you need to apply participatory methods. 

Each signature and each completed questionnaire submitted to the Commission was meaningful. Before announcing the proposed revision to the ECI later this year, the Commission will take into consideration the results of the Public Consultation, the report by the European Parliament with recommendations for the ECI’s revision, and the pressure by citizens and civil society alike to use this unique opportunity to strengthen the ECI or risk losing the only tool of transnational participatory democracy that exists.