Ask your MEP to improve the European Citizens‘ Initiative!

2013-03-12 News

On April 1st the ECI will have its first formal anniversary; this is a good time to evaluate the first experiences made with the new European Citizens’ Initiative right. We encourage you to put forward your own ideas about what needs to be changed. ECI activists in Luxembourg, for example, have encouraged their MEP Claude Turmes to put the questions below to the European Commission. We encourage you to ask your own MEP to do the same!

MEP Claude Turmes putting his parliamentary question to the Commission:

Subject: Implementation of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)

Nearly one year after the launch of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), organisers of such initiatives are reporting numerous technical and legal problems that are preventing citizens from signing an ECI.

1. What specific efforts is the Commission making to respond to citizens’ complaints about problems with the ECI online collection software? How many technical advisers and programmers are currently assigned to answer requests concerning the ‘JoinUp platform’? In view of the large number of complaints, does the Commission plan to increase its efforts to resolve the problems encountered with the ECI software?

2. Will the Commission provide technical and financial aid to organisers who have to develop their own online collection software because of the numerous problems reported with the solution provided by the Commission?

3. What steps is the Commission taking to stop certain groups of EU citizens being excluded from signing ECIs, for example Irish and Dutch citizens living outside the EU or in a Member State that only accepts signatures from its own citizens, or EU personnel who are not registered with the national social security system (as in Luxembourg)?

4. What efforts is the Commission making to include NGOs and campaigners in the development and improvement of the ECI instrument?

5. Citizens of Luxembourg are obliged to enter their social security number in order to be able to sign an ECI. However, the online collection software does not specify in what format users should input the number into this compulsory field. In addition, the field name (‘numéro d’identification national’) is misleading, as citizens normally do not automatically make the connection with the social security number. Indeed, this number is normally referred to as ‘numéro de matricule de la sécurité sociale nationale’. Furthermore, the text labelling this field is only displayed in French, regardless of what language is chosen. When can we expect the Commission to tackle this defect in the online collection software, which is preventing many Luxembourg citizens from signing ECIs?

6. The system currently prevents organisers from adding translations into languages other than the official EU languages, for example Luxembourgish. When will the Commission allow translations of ECIs into languages other than the official languages of the EU?