EU Commission Excludes ECI Reform from Work Programme 2017

October 28, 2016 News

On 25 October, the Juncker Commission presented the third annual Work Programme 2017. Although First Vice-President Frans Timmermans stressed the importance of empowering and defending Europe’s citizens, neither is the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) properly featured nor was any revision of Regulation No 211/2011 on the ECI mentioned. The ECI Campaign expresses its deep disappointment at the decision by the European Commission to exclude ECI revision and its reform from its Work Programme 2017. 

One day ahead of the presentation of the Commission Work Programme for 2017, the The ECI Campaign and its partners handed to Cabinet Member Mr. Antoine Colombani 40,996 signatures in support of a reform of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). The signatories call on the EU Commission to abandon its obstructive opposition and to improve the European Citizens’ Initiative in the coming year.

There is universal agreement that the ECI is in urgent need of improvement. Already at the ECI Day in early 2016 Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly concluded that “The ECI is in an existential crisis”. In the meantime EU Commission President Juncker has spoken of “an existential crisis of the Union” – an expression that has never been used before in the past 70 years. However, so far EU leaders are carefully avoiding any reference to “democracy” or any modern forms of citizen participation to address the crisis. “We urge decision-makers to see the correlation between the two crises and ask the Commission to fulfill the promise of participatory democracy in the EU”, says Carsten Berg, Director of The ECI Campaign.