TO SIMPLIFY THE EUROPEAN CITIZENS’ INITIATIVE, REVISE THE REGULATION Press release

July 10, 2015 News

Press Release by The ECI Campaign, 10 July 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO SIMPLIFY THE EUROPEAN CITIZENS’ INITIATIVE, REVISE THE REGULATION 

Report from 16 June ECI conference outlines solutions to the ECI’s challenges

Brussels – The ECI Campaign just released the full report of the 16 June 2015 conference “The European Citizens’ Initiative and the Promise of Participatory Democracy”. Co-organised by the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Council General Secretariat and The ECI Campaign, this high-level event brought together stakeholders from EU institutions, Member States and civil society to reflect on the future of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI).

Set out in article 11.4 of the Treaty of Lisbon and in use since 1 April 2012, the ECI allows one million citizens to invite the European Commission to propose a legal act to implement the treaties. To date, 46 ECI committees have been formed, 27 ECIs were registered and six million EU citizens have supported an ECI. No ECI has led to a legislative proposal. Only three ECIs are currently open and attracting little support. The ECI Regulation is now up for review.

Stakeholders expressed concern that ECI use has now come to a virtual standstill. High-level representatives from the Commission and Council advocated greater awareness-raising and education on the areas of EU competency ECIs can address. Those who have worked closely with the ECI, either as campaigners or in government administrations, indicated that the ECI’s problems lie in its current implementing Regulation and associated legal acts.

All stakeholders agreed that the ECI is too complex and that this complexity is now preventing its use. Importantly, the ECI’s current legal framework prohibits the kinds of simplifications users insist are needed for the ECI to succeed. It must be amended to ensure that all EU citizens (regardless of place of residence) can support an ECI, the online collection system is user-centred and can adapt to changing technology, two-way dialogue can take place, ECIs can address the issues of greatest concern to citizens and campaigns are not inadvertently handicapped by unnecessary technicalities.

Politicians and civil society representatives also insisted that the ECI must have a real political impact if it is to be used and restore trust between EU citizens and leaders. Both “successful” ECIs and ECIs that attract significant support must lead to political outcomes.

The full report can be downloaded from here.

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.