CITIZENS INITIATIVES (ECI)
What is a European citizens’ iniziative?
The art. 11 of the Treaty of the European Union introduces for the first time in the history of the EU the right to European Citizens to propose to the Commission a proposal legislation. A European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is an invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate. A citizens' initiative has to be backed by at least one million EU citizens, coming from at least 7 out of the 28 member states.
The rules and procedures governing the citizens' initiative are set out in an EU Regulation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in February 2011.
A citizens' initiative is possible in any field where the Commission has the power to propose legislation, for example environment, agriculture, transport or public health.
To have an idea of whether your proposal can be the subject of a citizens' initiative, you must check that it concerns a policy area where the EU has competence and that in this policy area, the Commission has the power to submit a proposal for a legal act.
Who can organise a citizens' initiative and how?Citizens must form a "citizens' committee" composed of at least 7 EU citizens being resident in at least 7 different member states; The members of the citizens' committee must be EU citizens old enough to vote in the European Parliament elections; Citizens' initiatives cannot be run by organisations. However, organisations can promote or support initiatives provided that they do so with full transparency; The citizens' committee must register its initiative on this website before starting to collect statements of support from citizens.
Once the registration is confirmed, organisers have one year to collect signatures; To give their support to an initiative, citizens have to fill in a specific statement of support form provided by the organisers, on paper or online. It is not possible to sign up to an initiative on this website. After Citizens Initiative gets one million signature, the Commission will examine the initiative, within 3 months after receiving the initiative. The response, which will take the form of a communication, will be formally adopted by the College of Commissioners and published in all official EU languages.
The Commission is not obliged to propose legislation as a result of an initiative. If the Commission decides to put forward a legislative proposal, the normal legislative procedure kicks off: the Commission proposal is submitted to the legislator (generally the European Parliament and the Council or in some cases only the Council) and, if adopted, it becomes law.