ECI USERS ADVOCATE FOR A REDESIGNED AND RELAUNCHED ECI Parliament begins public debate on the European Citizens Initiative
Press Release by The ECI Campaign, 23 February 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brussels – EU decision-makers and stakeholders for the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) are gearing up for a planned three-year review of the ECI’s implementing Regulation 2011/201.
Debate on possible reform of the ECI begins this Thursday, 26 February 2015 with a public hearing on the ECI in the European Parliament. Organised jointly by the Constitutional Affairs and Petitions committee, it will be live streamed from 9:00 – 12:30 CET on EPTV.
The ECI allows one million citizens to invite the European Commission to propose a legal act to implement the treaties. Set out in article 11.4 of the Treaty of Lisbon, it has been in use since 1 April 2012. The Commission will submit a report on its implementation to the Council and Parliament before 1 April 2015.
Carsten Berg, coordinator for The ECI Campaign, will present the experiences of ECI users at Thursday’s hearing. Summarising challenges encountered by early ECI campaigns detailed in the publication An ECI That Works, he says, “The ECI Regulation is fatally flawed. It lets the Commission limit free speech by rejecting ECIs for questionable legal reasons. It makes ECI organisers use burdensome procedures. It frightens away citizens by demanding sensitive personal data. Then it lets the Commission dismiss successful ECIs with no real action. Campaigners tell us that the ECI must be redesigned or it won’t be used.”
In 2012 and 2013, interest in the ECI was high. Over 46 ECIs were submitted to the Commission, but only 26 were registered, three succeeded and none led to any meaningful action. Consequently, in 2014, the ECI’s use collapsed. Only three ECIs are now active.
“The EU itself loses the most when the ECI isn’t used. Early ECIs helped to create public dialogue, enhance cross-border understanding and bring new ideas and voices to Brussels. A reformed and re-launched ECI could further democratise the EU by improving decision-makers’ interactions with and responsiveness to citizens.” says Mr. Berg. “We call on EU leaders to tear down the walls blocking participatory democracy, reform the ECI and let in fresh thinking and new perspectives. Ultimately, that’s the only way to sustain the Union.”
Debate on reforming the ECI will continue on 13 April 2015 with The 2015 ECI Day hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels and co-organised with the assistance of The ECI Campaign.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.