ECI Campaign shifts focus to ECI implementation in Member States

January 18, 2011 News

During recent months and years, the ECI Campaign has diligently worked for a truly citizen-friendly and usable ECI — so this tool can fulfill its potential in democratizing the EU. Read more about what has been reached as well as the next steps and events to come in 2011.

We have succeeded in reducing severe hurdles that would have made the ECI unattractive and extraordinary difficult to access for ordinary citizens. Specifically, our lobbying succeeded in convincing EU officials to:

a) introduce a simple procedure that allows future ECIs to register before they launch and not only after 300,000 signatures have been collected,

b) reduce the minimum number of signatures that must be collected per member state,

c) reduce the number of member states in which signatures must be collected,

d) oblige the European Commission to participate in a mandatory public hearing for every successful ECI and

e) allow one third of member states to not require their citizens to provide their ID number when signing an ECI.

At the same time, other aspects of the regulation implementing the ECI are either very disadvantageous to ECI organizers or still need to be finalized (see our analysis and press release from 15th December 2010 here ).

In particular, the aforementioned ID number requirement in two third of member states is an enormous and unnecessary hurdle that can fortunately still be changed. This is because the ECI regulation gives each member state the right to determine what information it will collect from its residents and how it will verify signatures.

The ECI Campaign will therefore now shift its focus from the EU institutions in Brussels to the member state level, monitoring the implementation process of the ECI regulation inside each member state (ECI enters into force in 2012, Member States now prepare its implementation). Specifically, the ECI Campaign will support activists working at national level for a citizen-friendly ECI, especially in eliminating the burdensome ID number requirement. Right now, democracy activists in Austria and Bulgaria are setting an example with their work to eliminate the ID number requirement in their countries.

If you and/or your organisation would like support in eliminating the ID number requirement for ECI supporters within your country please contact Carsten Berg. As a reminder, below is a list of member states which do and do not require an ID card number from ECI supporters.

Member states with ID card requirement: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Member states without ID card requirement: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Slovakia,  Estonia, United Kingdom.

Over the coming months, the ECI Campaign will also participate in or organise various events related to the ECI — which you are very welcome to join. Here’s a partial list:

25 January 2011: Bruge, Belgium — ECI workshop at the College of Europe

27 January 2011: Vienna, Austria — ECI conference organised by the Renner Institute and the respective press conference the next day

21 February 2011: Sofia, Bulgaria- Balkan Assist organises a public ECI event with Mariya Nedelcheva, MEP, contact: balkanassist@balkanassist.bg

17 March 2011: Brussels, Belgium — ECAS organises a Conference on the ECI