European Ombudsman writes to Commission: Better ECI regulation is needed

July 14, 2017 News

Another milestone on the way to a truely improved ECI:
Emily O´Reilly, European Ombudsman, has sent a letter to the European Commission advocating a better ECI regulation.
In her letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, which was published on July 13th., Ms O´Reilly refers to the ongoing Public Consultation on the ECI adding a number of recommendations:

– that the commission should be ready to register more ECI,
– that ECI organisers should receive “helpful, clear and accurate advice”,
– that the commission´s reasoning should be “more robust, consistent and comprehensible to the citizens” should an ECI be regarded as inadmissible,
– that the ECI, as a true tool of citizens, should have mechanisms which make finances and sponsorship transparent for the public and are reflecting reality,
– that the requirements for personal data of signatories urgently need simplification and harmonisation,
– that problems due to the “lack of legal personality of citizens´ committees should” be solved,,
– that the signature gathering should start when organisers are ready for it: either at the date when the OCS is certified or at a date chosen by the organisers themselves (within a given timeframe),
– that the OCS should reflect the needs of persons with disabilities,
– that the commission should better articulate that the debate generated through an ECI process gives the process value and legitimacy “in its own right and irrespective of the individual outcome”, and that the Commission “should do all in its power to see to it that the public debate ensuing from a registered ECI is as inclusive and transparent as possible”,
– that the Commission could highlight milestones such as 250.000 and 500.000 statements of supports,
– that both the European Parliament and the Council of the EU should be more consistently involved in the follow-up of an ECI,
– that “the Commission should explain its political choices to the public in a detailed and transparent manner”,
– that the Commission should make sure that help for organisers with translations is continued on a long-term basis.

It is evident that some of what Ms O´Reilly suggests can only be achieved by a true revision of the regulation 211/2011, but not by technical improvements only. This includes the timeline when the signature collection should start, or the improved regulations on the liability of citizens´ committee.
We warmly welcome her clear and supportive suggestions.

See the whole letter of the Ombudsman .

You can take part in the Public Consultation. See our guidelines here.

 

Photo: Copyright: European Union