European Citizens' Initiative

Related Theme: Civil Society

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, Belgium

    The ECI Day serves as a meeting place and platform for registered and future ECI organisers to meet and exchange information and experiences, and present their ECI to the media. The ECI campaigners and stakeholders will invite you to their stands outside the conference rooms where they will be presenting their initiatives and activities.


  • 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.

Upcoming events

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  • Brussels, Belgium

    The ECI Day serves as a meeting place and platform for registered and future ECI organisers to meet and exchange information and experiences, and present their ECI to the media. The ECI campaigners and stakeholders will invite you to their stands outside the conference rooms where they will be presenting their initiatives and activities.

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