European Movement International welcomes official start of European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) The European Movement International(EMI) welcomes the official start of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). “The ECI represents a new form of collective action on the European level and it could become an important tool to actively engage citizens in the agenda setting of the EU policy-making” says Jessica Chamba, Vice President of the EMI. With the regulation entering into force on 1 April 2012, EU citizens finally will be able to suggest legislative initiatives to the European Commission and to influence political decisions in a more direct way. The ECI will strengthen democracy in the EU, help to further promote the European Civil Society and contribute to improving the citizens’ identification with the EU by increasing the formation of a broad pan-European public. In a more involving European Union, the EMI is ready to play a key role in coordinating the interests of Civil Society within the new treaty framework. The EMI will also pay particular attention to how this tool will be used. “The ECI represents a unique opportunity to listen to the expectations of at least 1 million European citizens. It should not be misused against some of the founding principles of the EU, namely solidarity and tolerance between the countries and the citizens”, says Jessica Chamba.
The EMI will therefore be looking forward to the launch of the first European Citizens’ Initiatives and continue to closely monitor if and how the European Commission will take action in order to ensure that this new tool of transnational democracy will gain and receive broad support on all levels and will be used to actively favour the solidarity between European citizens. Background:The Lisbon Treaty introduces a new form of public participation in European Union policy shaping, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). The ECI will allow 1 million citizens from at least one quarter of the EU Member States to invite the European Commission to bring forward proposals for legal acts in areas where the Commission has the power to do so. The organisers of a citizens' initiative, a citizens' committee composed of at least 7 EU citizens who are resident in at least 7 different Member States, will have 1 year to collect the necessary statements of support. The number of statements of support has to be certified by the competent authorities in the Member States. The Commission will then have 3 months to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it. To read the approved text on the ECI regulation, please click here
For more information on the ECI register, the rules and how to launch your initiative, please click here
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