23 ECI CAMPAIGNS URGE MEPS TO ACCEPT ECI REPORT — WITHOUT AMENDMENT Last-minute amendment lets Commission continue to ignore successful ECIs.

2015-10-27 News


Press Release by The ECI Campaign, 27 October 2015


Last-minute amendment lets Commission continue to ignore successful ECIs.

Brussels – On Wednesday, 28 October 2015, the European Parliament will vote in plenary on EP Report 2014/2257 calling for meaningful reform of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). This report was approved unanimously by the Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) committee in September. After the EP vote, the Council will present its own report, to be later followed by the Commission’s response.

Created by the Treaty of Lisbon and in effect since April 2012, the ECI allows one million citizens to invite the European Commission to propose a legal act to implement the treaties. EU leaders hailed the ECI as a democratic innovation to help “bridge the gap” between citizens and the EU. In practice the ECI has been difficult to use. Out of nearly 50 proposed ECIs, only three have succeeded. None has led to a legislative proposal.

The ECI Campaign today delivered an Open Letter to President Martin Schulz and Members of European Parliament on behalf of 23 ECI campaigns. This letter asks MEPs to vote “yes” to the AFCO approved version of the ECI report and reject all proposed amendments.

The AFCO report on the ECI includes ten out of 12 reforms recommended by The ECI Campaign based on the experience of ECI users, including requiring less personal data from supporters and simplifying technical rules for online signature collection. Importantly, it also asks the Commission to respond to all successful ECIs with a legislative poposal. It does not change the ECI registration process or clarify whether ECIs may include treaty amendment.

“If the AFCO committee recommendations are all implemented, the ECI will become both easier to use and more impactful,” asserts Carsten Berg, coordinator of The ECI Campaign. “Proposed amendments weaken it. In particular, amendment #4 to paragraph 30 lets the Commission continue to ignore successful ECI. This is a betrayal of the ECI’s promise of participatory democracy and an insult to EU citizens.”   

The 23 ECI campaigns supporting ECI reform include the three successful ones: Right 2 Water, One of Us, and Stop Vivisection, as well as those which address issues ranging from the environment (End Ecocide30 km/Making Streets Liveable, Pour une gestion responsible des déchets) to the economy (Unconditional Basic IncomeACT 4 GrowthNew Deal 4 Europe, For a Socially Fair Europe, A Europe of Solidarity) and from education (High Quality European Education for AllTeach for Youth) to product regulation (Single Communication Tariff, European Free VapingWeed Like to Talk), free speech (Media Pluralism) and more (End to Front Companies, Central public online collection platform for the ECI).

The ECI Campaign (www.citizens-initiative.eu) is an independent non-profit that works for the successful introduction and implementation of the European citizens’ initiative right. For more information contact Carsten Berg at +49-1764-3064365 or berg@citizens-initiative.eu.