Data

General Issues
Governance & Political Institutions
Location
Brussels
Belgium
Scope of Influence
Multinational
Ongoing
Yes
Total Number of Participants
1000000
Facilitators
No
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Hearings/Meetings
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

CASE

European Citizens' Initiative

First Submitted By Gsmith

Most Recent Changes By Scott Fletcher, Participedia Team

General Issues
Governance & Political Institutions
Location
Brussels
Belgium
Scope of Influence
Multinational
Ongoing
Yes
Total Number of Participants
1000000
Facilitators
No
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Both
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Hearings/Meetings
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

Problems and Purpose

The European Citizens' Initiative gives EU citizens a channel to directly influence policy by proposing legislation on matters that concern the entire continent. Initiatives that garner 1 million signatures across a wide range of Member States are considered for implementation by the European Commission.  

Background History and Context

The legal basis of the ECI is laid out in the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in December 2009 and amends the Maastricht Treaty (1992) and Treaty of Rome (1957). The Treaty of Lisbon reinforces the right of citizens to “participate in the democratic life of the Union” and outlines the details of the ECI.

The first initiatives were registered in early 2012.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

The ECI program is primarily overseen by the European Commission who is mandated to review all proposals with over 1 million signatures. No EU funding is provided to the public to organize an ECI. 

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Participation is open to all EU citizens (i.e., nationals of a Member State); non-EU nationals cannot organize a citizens’ initiative, serve as members of a citizens’ committee, or submit a statement of support. To participate in any part of the process, citizens need to be old enough (though not necessarily registered) to vote in European Parliament elections – 18 years of age, except in Austria where the minimum age is 16. 

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) may be members of citizens’ committees but cannot be counted as one of the requisite 7 citizens, meaning that they may not be mentioned on the committee registration form. Participants in the citizens' committees must residie in at least 7 different Member States. 

Methods and Tools Used

Citizen initiatives and similar methods of public policy propsal are found in many Western democratic nations. In most European countries, citizens’ initiatives already exist at national, regional, and local levels, although they vary significantly in terms of their procedure and scope. The ECI allows citizens to address issues that cut across Member States. 

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

The first ECI was symbolically registered by the Commission on Europe Day – May 9, 2012. This initiative, named Fraternité 2020, is a movement by the Young European Citizens’ Convention to enhance European exchange programs (such as Erasmus and the European Voluntary Service) and increase international solidarity. As of July 2012, six other ECIs had been officially registered, including:

  • Stop Vivisection (advocating animal rights and the protection of their welfare in scientific research)
  • Let Me Vote (petitioning for the right of EU citizens living in another Member State to vote in all political elections in their country of residence)
  • One of Us (arguing for the right to life from conception and denouncing the use of human embryos in research)
  • EU Directive on Dairy Cow Welfare (supporting policies to improve the well-being of cows)
  • Right to Water (advocating that access to sufficient and clean drinking water is a human right, and that management of water resources should not be liberalized)
  • Single Communication Tariff Act (lobbying for the end of roaming fees across Europe)

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

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Analysis and Lessons Learned

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See Also

European Citizens' Iniative Process (method)

Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review

Petition

References

 Citizens' Guide to the ECI: http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/how-it-works

External Links

http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/welcome

Notes

Lead Image: European Citizens' Initiative/Europa https://bit.ly/2OWcxnp