1/5 of Member States is a “significant number”
The treaty article (11.4, TEU) creating the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) requires the support of citizens from a “significant number” of Member States.
The Council and Commission have interpreted “significant” in a very restrictive way as being 1/3 of Member States (currently nine countries). This is more than required to form a European political party! Plus, within each of these nine countries, the number of signatures must reach a quota equal to 750 times the number of MEPs.
1/5 of Member States (currently five countries) is a “significant number” sufficient to guarantee that an ECI has cross-border support.
A proportion of Member States higher than 1/5 will make it practically impossible for all but the largest, best-funded organisations to organise a successful ECI. The ECI would become in fact an initiative right only for already powerful lobbies. Not ordinary citizens.
1/3 of Member States = lobbyist’s initiative
1/5 of Member States = citizens’ initiative
In honour of constituency week, each day this week, the ECI Campaign will highlight a different aspect of the draft ECI regulation that must change so EU citizens can in fact exercise their new initiative right.