Meet the Newest ECI Campaigns

December 17, 2015 News

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Since September 2015, the Commission has registered all five out of five potential ECIs. This is very good news for EU democracy! It also represents a marked improvement over 2014 when only four ECIs were registered and five ECIs were refused registration, including Stop TTIP which continued on as an informal ECI.

We wish these new ECIs the best of luck and wanted to tell you a bit about each of them.

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Fair Transport Europe – equal treatment for all transport workers

Deadline: September 2016

What it asks:
It seeks to end unfair business practices which result in social and wage dumping. Specifically, it calls on the European Commission to ensure fair competition in different transport modes and to guarantee equal treatment of all workers, regardless of their country of origin, in terms of pay and working conditions.

It is currently available in all official EU languages and actively collecting signatures online and on paper.

Who’s behind it:
The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), a pan-European trade union representing national transportation workers’ unions across the continent.

Website:
www.fairtransporteurope.eu

Fun fact: Fair Transport Europe is the first ECI to use the independent online signature collection software OpenECI.

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STOP PLASTIC IN THE SEA

Deadline: October 2016

What it asks:
Ambitious new EU legislation regulating plastic waste. The environmental challenges of plastic waste are not included in current EU regulations. In accordance with the circular economy, this ECI aims to promote the use of biodegradable plastics. Following the logic of the waste hierarchy, it also seeks to prevent the production of plastic waste, promote recycling and ban the disposal of plastics at sea.

This ECI is currently only available in French and does not appear to have yet set up an online signature collection system.

Who’s behind it:
Expeditions Med, a network of environmental associations from France, Spain, Italy and Morocco that was created to eliminate plastic waste in the Mediterranean. It is building on the success of earlier campaigns to extend its reach.

Website: www.expeditionmed.eu

Fun fact: Its campaign hashtag for social media is #SPITS.

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Decriminalise Cannabis*

Deadline: November 2016

*Official Title: Vi vill att WHO:s rekommendationer efterföljs. Cannabis ska bli avkriminaliserat med reglering.

What it asks:
The decriminalisation of cannabis in the European Union and its regulation for medicinal uses. The medical benefits of cannabis should be recognised. It should be made available by prescription and reimbursed by health insurance schemes. It should be classified using the EU study on the “European rating of drug harms” which identifies its potential benefits and risks.

This ECI is currently only available in Swedish and does not appear to have yet set up an online signature collection system or website.

Who’s behind it:
It appears to be an informal grassroots coalition of individuals and national groups advocating for medical cannabis. It is coordinated by HERE: Human Evolution Reeform Europe.

Website: www.reeformhumanity.com (not working)

Fun fact: This is the second registered ECI on the topic of cannabis. The ECI Weed Like to Talk, launched in 2013, sought to clarify EU legislation on cannabis, but failed to gain significant popular support.

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Wake up Europe ! Agir pour préserver le projet démocratique européen

Deadline: November 2016

What it asks:
This ECI asks the Commission to invite the Council to hold Hungary accountable for multiple violations of European values, including several enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. This includes its treatment of refugees and immigrants, proposed reintroduction of the death penalty, threats to the rule of law and the judiciary, threats to the freedom of expression and the media, restrictions on freedom of religion and discriminatory treatment of minorities.

This ECI is in the process of preparing its online signature collection system. Under the current ECI Regulation, this can’t be done before an ECI is registered and can take up to two months.

Who’s behind it:
The European Humanist Federation, a network of humanist and secular organisations across Europe.

Website:
www.act4democracy.eu

Fun fact: This ECI uses the same legal basis as the proposed ECI Stop TTIP. The Commission cited the same legal reasoning to register this ECI as it did to refuse to register Stop TTIP.

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Mum, Data & Kids – ECI to protect Marriage and Family

Deadline: December 2016

What it asks:
An EU-wide definition of the legal meaning of “family” and “marriage” that is compatible with legislation in all EU Member States. It was launched in reaction to the increasing fragmentation of the concepts of family and marriage. Although EU legislation refers to both terms, their meaning is unclear and there are divergent definitions in different EU directives. This ECI respects article 9 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights whereby each Member State has the authority to legislate on marriage and family.

This ECI is in the process of preparing its online signature collection system which it expects to be online by late January.

Who’s behind it:
A grassroots network of pro-family and pro-life individuals and organisations, many with a religious orientation, throughout the EU.

Website:
www.mumdadkids.wordpress.com

Fun fact: Several individuals involved with this ECI also campaigned for the successful ECI One of Us. That ECI collected the majority of its over 1.8 million signatures on paper using a well-organised and highly motivated network of volunteers.

Even more ECIs waiting in the wings

In addition to these five new ECIs, there are several future European Citizens’ Initiatives currently being organised. Plus, of course, multiple closed ECIs continue to advance their goals both within the EU institutions and throughout the EU via the networks and relationships they created via their ECI campaigns.

Here are four future ECIs that seem particularly promising.

European Asylum Initiative

The initiative is organised by the NGO Common Borders and calls for a “permanent, transparent and fair scheme” allocating asylum seekers among Member States, more quotas to directly take in people from outside the bloc, and allowing asylum applications to be lodged outside the EU. They are building support for their campaign with an informal online petition. To learn more visit: www.commonborders.eu.

People 4 Soil

The organisers want to put pressure on European institutions to adopt specific legislation on soil protection, setting principles and rules that must be respected by the Member States. They want Europe to recognize soil as a common good essential for our lives and to assume its sustainable management as a primary commitment. They are currently building a large and diverse network of organisational partners. To learn more visit: www.people4soil.eu.

Rights of Nature

Rights of Nature Europe proposes a whole systems framework of law that recognizes the reality of our existence: we are nature – part of the interdependent web of life. When nature thrives, we thrive. Rights of nature shifts the paradigm by reversing the structure of law that treats nature as an object separate to us – which is at the root of the problem – by recognizing nature as a rights-bearing subject of the law equal to humans and corporations. In addition to building their own network, they are helping to improve the ECI overall through work with The ECI Campaign. To learn more visit: www.rightsofnature.eu.

The European Approach to Money and the Economy
The initiative aims to create a contemporary monetary and corporate order as a first step towards global solidarity. In particular, it aims to amend the statutes of the European Central Bank to conduct credit operations on an interest-free basis. This ECI is building partners and networks for a launch in 2019. To learn more visit: www.europe2019.net.