What are the next steps of the ECI?

February 1, 2010 News

Today the dead-line for turning in ECI-proposals to the EU-Commission is over and several people and NGOs of you have contributed. Thank you very much for getting into the details and creating your own ideas! You can view all proposals here.

Based on many informal meetings with the responsible persons of the EU-Commission within the last weeks and based on the turned in written proposals by civil society organisations, we hope that the EU-Commission is getting a sense of understanding, that there actually still is a strong need to improve the proposals made by the EU-Commission in the Greenbook. Thus, let us undertake the next steps, in order to achieve a citizen-friendly design of the European Citizens’ Initiative, so that ECI will truly be an accessible and workable instrument for us as citizens. There still is a lot to do.

It will be critical to establish a process with clear rules of the game, very few hurdles, a comprehensive support structure – and last but not least – a clear understanding that this new instrument is nothing less than the same right as the Parliament and Council already have – to propose new EU legislation to the EU-Commission

On January 18th, there was quite an interesting hearing within the European Parliament. Slovakia’s commissioner-designate, Maros Sefcovic, who will be responsible for ECI, was scrutinized by MEPs. Sefcovic received lots of questions about the remoteness of the EU from citizens. He said that there were still many areas of the ECI on which they are “still looking for good answers”. He said he wanted to make sure the ECI gave citizens “a real voice” (and seemed sincere).

The next step will be a public hearing on February 22nd organized by the EU-Commission in Brussels with civil society organisations. Already before that day, there will be a meeting with national electoral managers of EU-member states. This are the people, who will have to perform the practical issues related to an ECI such as counting and verifying signatures.

Another proposal on how to design ECI was handed over to the EU-Commision by the Council of Ministers of European Affairs. We believe that the ministers could have been more wise and wait until the consultation-phase is over and incorporate the input of those, who will be using this instrument in the future — citizens and civil society organisations.

For ECI in the press, see this!

For the hearing on 22 February 2010, the European Commission already published a programme.