Who is going to launch an ECI on which issue?

2012-05-12 News

These days many individuals and organizations across Europe are assessing how to start a European Citizens’ Initiative. But only a few of them have officially announced their European Citizens’ Initiative projects so far. Find below a preliminary overview of the first registered ECIs and further expected ECIs to come*.

Please also check the official ECI registry, on which all ECIs are registered  once they are declared as admissible.


(klick on blue headlines to get on the initiative’s websites)

‘Water is a public good, not a commodity’ say the organizers of this initiative which is backing a proposal to declare access to water and sanitation a human right. In particular it is against the liberalization of water services.We want the EU to change their mind-set from its current focus on competition and completely market-based approach, to a public service attitude and a rights-based approach. Water is a limited natural resource and a public good fundamental for life and health. It is a ‘natural’ monopoly and must be kept out of internal market rules.” The initiative is supported by the European Federation of Public Service Unions and has fund raised 100.000 EUR for its campaign.


This Initiative wants to ban EU funding for scientific research involving the use of human embryonic stem cells. It thus is about protecting human embryos used in research. “The dignity, the right to life and integrity of every human being from conception” should be recognised in law, the proposal argues. It is supported by the Italian pressure group Fondazione Vita Nova and has fund raised 50.000 EUR for its campaign.


This Initiative calls for an EU Directive that guarantees improved animal welfare of the EU’s 23 million dairy cows. While there is some standard protection for pigs and poultry in the EU there is not sufficient guaranteed protection for cows. Cattle prods should be banned and floors in shelters should be non-slip. Moreover cows should have enough time for “exercise, grazing and socialising”, the proposers of this initiative submit. The Initiative is supported by ice cream manufacturer Ben and Jerry’s, the World Society for the Protection of Animals, and Compassion in World Farming. So far this Initiative is the best funded one with a budget of 350.000 EUR.


An initiative to give European citizenship its meaning and its value by providing European citizens the right to be national citizens of any EU country in which they reside. People from other EU member states who live for example in Belgium can vote in local elections and elections to the European parliament. But they have no vote on who represents their constituency in the Belgian national parliament. The initiative wants to change this by granting EU citizens residing in another Member States the right to vote. This initiative does not have any sources of funding so far.


Under the title ”Fraternité 2020” mostly young people from across Europe have established an ECI organising committee to promote citizen-to-citizen activities across national borders in the EU as a strengthening of academic programmes like Erasmus, the establishment of a European Voluntary Serviceand exchange programmes, making Europeans more knowledgeable about other countries. This initiative does not have any sources of funding so far.


This initiative aims to ensure that all EU networks providers offer customers a flat-rate, all-inclusive tariff to which roaming charges would not apply. In other words it aims at to “end roaming fees across Europe.” Phone companies would be forbidden to charge more than 50 euros (£40) a month for the tariff, no matter how many texts are sent, calls made, or megabytes downloaded, anywhere in the EU. This initiative does not have any sources of funding so far.

The following ECIs are not registered yet:


Given the worsening situation of media freedom and pluralism in the European Union this initiative is pushing for a stronger role for European institutions in safeguarding and protecting the independence and pluralism of the media. In particular the European institutions shall safeguard the right to independent and pluralistic information as sanctioned by the new European Charter on Fundamental Rights. The initiative is driven by the European Alternatives and Alliance International de Journalists.


An initiative with the “aim of making European education accessible to as many European citizens as possible; a choice based on an educational model that encourages mutual respect, as well as excellence, yet is respectful of each other’s identity”. This ECI wants to extend the currently very limited EU school system to everyone interested and to establish a European Baccalaureate.


This initiative is asking to obtain equal marriage rights for all couples throughout Europe. It requests from the European Union to stop discrimination against sexual orientation regarding marriage and to legalize gay marriage throughout the European Union.


As an answer to the ongoing energy crisis and nuclear accidents, GLOBAL 2000/Friends of the Earth Austria, Friends of the Earth Europe and other environmental organisations want to mobilise the European society to help replace step by step outdated fossil and nuclear power as energy sources with energy efficiency measures and an energy system based on renewable energy sources. The initiative considers this is the time to get the energy revolution going and to increase the speed at which the switch to renewable energy sources and investing in energy efficiency is done. By doing this, the initiative wants to prevent decades of destructive conventional energy production with its incalculable risks for health and climate.


As a reaction to the recent financial global crisis and the ”massive transfers of resources from the public to the private sphere” the so-called Occupymovement has worked on preparing a European Citizens’ Initiative for a Guaranteed Basic Income for everyone in the EU. This initiative is planned to be launched later in 2012.


Quote: To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation by preventing the restriction of liberty and preventing the means of censorship. The FIA will allow internet users to browse freely without any means of censorship. Users have the right to free speech and to free knowledge; we govern the content of the internet, governments do not. However, some enforcement/laws must also be put in place to protect copyrighted content. First mentioning here.


In the context of the global financial crisis many citizens and politicians have been calling for a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT). Two years ago the Austrian and German social democrats have called for a citizens’ initiative on FTT. The EU Commission has already made a legislative proposal, however it was rejected by numerous member states, in particular by Great Britain, Sweden and the Check Republic. The current President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has just repeated his sympathy for such a citizens’ initiative, see here.


This initiative is on ‘protecting the right to life’. Vatican Radio has announced the launch of this ECI as the final event of a “Week for Life” organized by Pro-life Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), in collaboration with the Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Community (COMECE).

ESPERANTO INITIATIVE -Initiative for singing the European Anthem in Esperanto

On April 3 2012 the European Esperanto Union has submitted a proposal for registration to the European Commission. Quote: “The EU recommends that the European Anthem be sung using specially adapted lyrics in the neutral pan-European language, Esperanto, when citizens wish to express their common European identity.”

INDEPENDENCE INITIATIVE – Initiative for independent EU member states to be recognized

This Initiative is requesting that any state within the EU that has come into existence through the democratic secession from another member state shall be automatically be recognized as a new EU member state. Quote: “Up until now there is no legislation in the EU which guarantees the continuity of rights and obligations of the European citizens belonging to a new state arising from the democratic secession of a European Union member state. As European citizens of stateless nations we have the right, in the case of our nation becoming independent through a democratic process, to guarantee our continuity as European Citizens.”


The planed data retention policy of the EU has raised intense privacy concerns among European citizens and the internet community. There is no website yet, but several civil society groups such as the the German speaking group “Stoppt die Vorratsdatenspeicherung and the “Europen Digital Rights”-Initiative  are discussing the issue for a longer time. Recently a member of national parliament (Liberals) in Germany has taken this up and called for a European citizens’  initiative against data retention. See here.

In addition to the mentioned initiatives there have already been five informal successful 1 million signature campaigns before the ECI regulation had officially entered into force. (Check our ECI Handbook for more information on such earlier campaigns). This refers to Stop Long Animal Transports Initiative,  the ELIANT Initiative, the Avaaz-Greenpeace GMO campaign, the One-Seat-Campaign and the 1million4disability Initiative. Some of them are expected to re-launch their campaigns. It is important to keep in mind that none of these informal ECIs has ever followed such strict signature collection and verification rules as are foreseen now. Even huge NGOs such as Greenpeace and Avaaz needed 9 months to collect 1 million signatures — under ideal conditions. They did not collect sensitive data such as ID card numbers and their signatures were not verified by national ministries.

Several of the initiatives explained above are running the risk to be inadmissible as expressed and explained in our press release.

Please inform us about other planed or actual European Citizens’ Initiatives you are coming across. For more information contact Carsten Berg at +49-1764-3064365

*Note: some of the information provided here are from “The European Citizens’ Initiative Pocket Guide” produced by IRI-Europe and the European Green Foundation – two supporting NGOs of ECI Campaign.