European Citizens' Initiative

Related Theme: Civil Society


European Citizens' Ininitative Day 2014: Building up success

15 April 2014


From 1 April 2012, European citizens enjoy a new right which gives them a stronger voice: the European citizens' initiative (ECI). By collecting one million signatures across Europe, they can call upon the European Commission to propose or change existing European legislation.

The European Economic and Social Committee, as an advocate of citizens' rights of participation and the voice of civil society, supported the idea of a citizens' initiative from the start and fought for a simple, understandable set of rules, as laid down in the two opinions it adopted on the ECI.

In short, the EESC sees its role in two ways:

  • The Committee as facilitator: While an initiative is being planned or is in progress, the Committee – in its role as a platform for dialogue and information – is prepared to act as a facilitator enabling organisers of citizens' initiatives to network and possibly to meet, etc.
  • The Committee as institutional mentor: The Committee offers to support the Commission's by issuing an opinion to assist it in evaluating a successful initiative. The EESC also offers its collaboration to the Commission and the European Parliament for the holding hearings on those successful initiatives.


For more information on the ECI, please contact citizensinitiative

Other related themes: Institutional reform, Citizenship

Events on European Citizens' Initiative

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  • Brussels

    Two years after the launch of the ECI and one year before the revision of the implementing regulation, the ECI Day 2014 creates an excellent opportunity to discuss the best practices stemming from the first successful ECIs and to set up the list of recommendations for improving this instrument of direct democracy. The event will focus on three aspects of the ECI: the ECI and political challenge, its legal aspects and ECI campaigning in view of the new e-democracy tools.

  • Conference - Brussels, Belgium

    In 2013, the European Citizens' Initiative Day brought together stakeholders and organisers of initiatives in order to discuss the first year of the citizens' initiative, its first problems and successes, and prepare the revision of the regulation in 2015.

  • Joint conference organised by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions
    Conference - Brussels
    The conference explored further the democratic potential of the ECI in Europe, as well as some recent best practices in the field of participatory democracy and citizen's participation. An interactive panel debate engaged European, national and regional policy makers and discussed the role of the two Committees in the ECI.

  • Seminar - Belgium

    On 22 March 2011, Group III held an important seminar under the above title. In a rapidly changing world, it should be noted that Group III has worked doggedly and consistently for well over twelve or more years in pursuance of an important objective, the nucleus of which has been recently concretised in Article 11 of the new Lisbon Treaty. It is felt that now is an opportune moment in time to define the outline and the details of a new objective, which intersects with the implementation of Article 11 and the changed context and practice of civil dialogue at EU level.


RSS Feed
  • 25 stories told by 25 active citizens

    • 11 Feb 2013
      A commitment to make life better

      “In Germany we have lots of experience of the breakdown of the German Democratic Republic, and all the trouble that it brought. I tried to apply that experience to the process of enlargement, together with colleagues from the newer Member States.”
      He argues that promoting European unity and solidarity is particularly relevant to German citizens. “Germany caused a lot of problems and suffering in the rest of Europe during World War II,” he explains. “That is not forgotten. We still have an open commitment to fulfil.”

  • Blog

    • 15 Nov 2013
      Energy in citizens hands - Considerations after a week in Warsaw

      After this week at the COP19 I go home with some optimism because there still remains the possibility that politicians are less important than they may believe. Perhaps something different is evolving on a parallel track, something which later actually could change the world for the better.

  • Blog - EESC go to Durban

    • 9 Dec 2011
      Good-bye Durban (being optimistic)
      Head of the EESC delegation, hard at work

      The Durban-negotiations may end up with concrete measures to fight climate change, or maybe Roadmaps for individual countries, or with improvements of the Climate Fund - or with just diplomatic talk and no concrete results. The final results will only be known when we are on the plane, going back.

  • Blogging from Doha

    • 10 Dec 2012
      Thoughts after Doha 2012

      In this post, Ms Slavova gives us two perspectives of the outcome of the Climate Change Conference: the disappointment of environmental advocates, but also the significant steps achieved in Doha.

  • On the road to Paris - EESC blog from Lima

    • 11 Dec 2014
      Leadership in climate protection technologies: Europe must not rest on its laurels

      <p>Whether there is no doubt about the fact that Europe strongly supports climate protection. Here in Lima It is very clear that the global race for innovative future markets has started. And with all respect for its achievements so far, Europe must not rest on its laurels.</p>
      <p>All over the world, so-called &ldquo;risk capital&rdquo; is being mobilised to develop innovative, climate-friendly products and processes. However, particularly in Europe, many are obstructing the absolutely necessary rapid and decisive structural change. Politicians still yield to lobbying pressures from industries which clearly have no future in their present form.</p>

  • Staffan Nilsson's Comment (former EESC President 2010-2013)

    • 12 Apr 2013
      Citizens' initiative- have you signed up to it?

      For the past year Europeans have been able to exercise a new EU right: the right to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate, on condition that the initiative is backed by at least one million citizens from seven EU Member States. The challenges and the struggles which initiators face (the online signature collection system, data protection, language barriers and different national verification requirements) are symptomatic of the state of European integration. Some may disagree, but I think more integration makes for a more democratic EU. The further the EU moves towards integration, the easier it will be to get such transnational initiatives off the ground. The European citizens' initiative (ECI) is an ideal adjunct to – and indeed a consolidation of – the EU's system of representative governance. So have you signed up to any yet? Take a look at the list of all citizens' initiatives registered here.

  • The President's blog


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