European Commission launches Citizens' Initiative
Sunday 01 April 2012
1 April, the European Commission launched the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a tool that allows groups of citizens to make legislative proposals.
The ECI enables EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies, by calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. A citizens' initiative has to be backed by at least one million EU citizens coming from at least seven Member States. Initiatives are possible in any field - such as public health - where the Commission has the power to propose legislation.
A minimum number of signatories is required in each of the 7 member states. 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.
The ECI is one of the major innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon. The rules and procedures governing the new instrument were agreed by the European Parliament and the Council following a proposal from the Commission: Regulation (EU) N° 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on 16 February 2011.