Initiative for the
European Citizens' Initiative


Xavier Dutoit is the IT professional who developed the online campaign and signature collectiontools for the first successful ECI – Right 2 Water. He has been a tireless advocate for a campaign-and user-friendly ECI Online Collection System (OCS). In this edited interview with The ECI Campaign coordinator Carsten Berg he explains why the current OCS needs to be scrapped and rebuilt.


You can find more samples of our upcoming publication “An ECI That Works” at:


“An ECI That Works! Learning from the first two years of the European Citizens Initiative” will be released on 15 April 2014 for ECI Day at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels. In anticipation of ECI Day, we’re giving you a taste of the rich learning and clear guidance for reform inside “An ECI That Works!”. We’ll feature one of the publication’s 36 articles each day between now and the 15th of April.

The first article is from Jerry Van den Berge, policy officer with EPSU and coordinator of the “Water is a Human Right!” ECI campaign.

The Right2Water ECI, the first to collect one million validated signatures, was started by EPSU to put the human right to water and sanitation on the EU agenda and prevent the liberalisation of water services. Although its ultimate impact is uncertain, public support for the campaign led the Commission to remove water from the EU concessions directive. This unusually well-prepared, professionally managed and well-resourced ECI attracted a diverse coalition of partners and major media attention. Yet, like other ECIs, it struggled with an inadequate online signature collection system, intrusive ID requirements and limited citizen awareness of the ECI.


01.04.2014 | Comments Off

ECI that works

It has been two years since the introduction of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), the first tool for transnational participatory and digital democracy in world history. To celebrate and boost its developments, The ECI Campaign has produced a new publication, An ECI That Works!. On 15 April 2014, printed copies will be available at The ECI Day conference in Brussels. A complete online version will also be available at that time at where you can find already today an assessment by the ECI Right2Water, the view of Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EU Commission and further ECI stakeholders.  More…


Today, almost two years after registration, and collecting 1,659,543 signatures from EU citizens, the first successful European Citizens’ Initiative, ‘Right2Water’, obtained an official response from Maroš Šefcovic, the European commissioner for inter-institutional relations and administration, who is in charge of handling ECIs:

“Europe’s citizens have spoken, and today the Commission gave a positive response. Water quality, infrastructure, sanitation and transparency will all benefit – for people in Europe and in developing countries – as a direct result of this first ever exercise in pan-European, citizen-driven democracy. I congratulate the organisers on their achievement.” More…

ECI DAYTwo years after the launch of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) and one year before the revision of the implementing regulation 211/2011, the ECI Day 2014 becomes an excellent opportunity to look into the first successful and complete ECI processes, to discuss the best practices and to set up a list of recommendations that can raise the efficiency of this instrument of participatory democracy and make it more citizens friendly. More…


On Monday, February 17, the historic public hearing for ECI Right2Water – Europe’s first successful European Citizens’ Initiative – took place in the European Parliament in the presence of the Vice-President of the European Commission Maros Sefcovic. At this well-attended hearing the organizers of the Right2Water campaign urged the EU Commission to guarantee access to water and sanitation and declare it as a human right. Most speakers also raised more generally the ECI and European democracy, given the historic nature of this first ECI hearing (which you can watch again here). More…

First ECI Hearing Ever for Right2Water

13.02.2014 | Comments Off


The Public Hearing for ECI Right2Water – Europe’s first successful European Citizens’ Initiative – will take place Monday, 17 February from 15h00 to 18h30, in room JAN4Q2 in the European Parliament. It will be chaired by the Environment Committee and will also involve the Petitions Committee (PETI), the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), and the Development Committee (DEVE). Over 300 people from across Europe have registered to follow the debate in Brussels. The event also is web-streamed. More…

ECI Conference Report by Romain Gaillard

On 8 January 2014, the European Citizenship Group, composed of ten students from the European Affairs Master’s Programme at the Strasbourg Institute of Political Studies in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee, organized a conference on “The Impact of the European Citizens’ Initiative on EU policies”. More…


In light of requests, the new European Ombudsman Emily O‘Reilly extends the invitation to submit comments on the functioning of the European citizens’ initiative (ECI) procedure (see the opening letter to the ECI organisers) to other civil society groups. Comments should be submitted by 31 March 2014. More…

IIFlat_PIC Dec 5 Coulur

“We all encounter the same challenges, the same problems.” – Prisca Merz, ECI End Ecocide in Europe

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is nearing its two year anniversary. The first ten ECI campaigns have completed their 12 month signature collection period. These and other pioneering ECI campaigns have amassed a wealth of practical experience that can now be used to assess and then improve the ECI. To learn from their experiences, The ECI Campaign convened a full-day workshop entitled “An ECI that Works!” on 5 December 2013 in Brussels. It was co-hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee and supported by Citizens for Europe More…