24 months to collect one million signatures
In the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) draft regulation, organisers are given a mere 12 months to collect one million signatures — following extremely strict guidelines which include gathering intrusive personal data from a large number of people within each of at least nine countries.
Only the very largest and best-financed lobby groups could possibly collect one million signatures in just 12 months while also respecting very strict rules. After all, no group anywhere has ever collected one million signatures in support of any topic while also following rules similar to those in the ECI regulation.
Small or poorly financed groups and/or those promoting ECIs on newer or complex issues would find it impossible to build a pan-European campaigning structure and educate citizens about their issue within just 12 months.
As with the number of Member States, a short deadline weakens the democratic character of the ECI. It would effectively turn the ECI into an initiative right for already powerful lobbies, not for ordinary citizens.
12 months = lobbyist’s initiative
24 months = 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.