European Citizens’ Initiatives

The European Citizens’ Initiative is a unique way for you to help shape the EU by calling on the European Commission to propose new laws. Once an initiative has reached 1 million signatures, the Commission will decide on what action to take.

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As of 1 April 2012, EU citizens have a new tool allowing them to participate in shaping EU policy. Put in place by the Lisbon Treaty, the citizens’ initiative allows 1 million citizens from at least a quarter of the EU Member States to ask the European Commission to propose legislation in areas that fall within its competence.

The organizers of a citizens’ initiative – a citizens’ committee composed of at least 7 EU citizens, resident in at least 7 different Member States – have 1 year to collect the necessary support. Signatures must be certified by the competent authorities in each Member State. Organizers of successful initiatives will participate in a hearing at the European Parliament. The Commission will have 3 months to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it.

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The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) was launched in April 2012, to encourage the EU public to get more involved in the political life of the Union. By collecting a million signatures, citizens can compel the European Commission to consider legislation in a particular area. The detailed rules are set out in a regulation. More than 70 ECIs have been submitted to the European Commission and four initiatives have been successful, to date, in collecting the 1 million signatures required. There have, however, been many calls for the initiative to be reformed and its procedures simplified. As a result, a revised regulation has now been adopted. Under the new rules, ECI organizers will get more help, for instance, through a collaborative platform providing practical and legal advice. They will be able to have their initiative partially registered by the Commission and will have more flexibility in choosing the start date for the one-year period of signature collection. EU citizens will be able to support initiatives regardless of where they live, and will need to provide fewer personal details.

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You can find the European Union’s ECI website below:

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