March 5, 2015 News


Press Release by The ECI Campaign, 6 March 2015

Reform suggestions don’t go far enough to restore citizen confidence and preserve ECI use. 

Brussels – The European Ombudsman today released her decision to the European Commission on her own-inquiry report on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). Her comments focused on increasing transparency in Commission decisions and creating more political dialogue on successful ECIs via a greater involvement of Parliament and Council.

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. The ECI Regulation 211/2011 is up for review this year. The Commission will submit a report on the ECI to the Council and Parliament by 1 April 2015.

The Ombudsman’s inquiry was launched in December 2013 in response to multiple complaints from ECI users. Its goal was to ensure an effective implementation of the current ECI Regulation 211/2011, as well as provide suggestions for ECI reform. Many ECI campaigners, advocates and NGOs responded to the public consultation.

The ECI Campaign welcomes the Ombudsman’s suggestions to make the ECI more transparent and political. We also applaud her 11 ECI reform recommendations, especially to make personal data requirements simpler and more uniform. However, we regret that they do not go far enough to restore citizen confidence in the ECI and so ensure its continued use. ECI use has declined dramatically since 2014. Only three ECIs are now active.

“The ECI is in real danger of no longer being used. Fundamental reform is required to restore citizen confidence in the instrument. Increased transparency and technical changes simply won’t be enough to convince citizens to use it.” according to Carsten Berg, coordinator of The ECI Campaign. “To maximize public dialogue, the legal admissibility check should be removed and ECIs proposing treaty amendments allowed. Successful ECIs should be met with concrete actions, not only dialogue. And no citizen should have to supply sensitive personal data like ID numbers to support an ECI.”

It is now up to the Commission to demonstrate that it is truly committed to the ECI’s continued use by proposing a deep and meaningful revision of the ECI Regulation. We also look to the European Parliament and Council to push for necessary reforms so citizens can and will use the ECI to meaningfully participate in shaping Europe’s future.

For reforms needed to ensure the ECI’s continued use see “12 Ways to Build an ECI that Works!”. These are drawn from the experience of ECI users collected in “An ECI That Works”.

The ECI Campaign ( 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