Introduced on 1 April 2012 by the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Citizens' Initiative is the most important instrument of participative democracy in the European Union. By collecting at least 1 million signatures from at least 7 EU Member States, citizens have the right to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act or modify the existing one. This Guide is to provide you with an idea of how to get involved.
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Speech by President Luca JAHIER at the 'Euopean Civil Society Day 2014' at the EESC on Tuesday 18 March 2014
The biggest challenge now facing Europe's economy is how to sustain the recovery that is now underway. This is the main message of the 2014 Annual Growth Survey (AGS). Its adoption kicks off the fourth European Semester of economic policy coordination in an environment where growth is beginning to return and Member States are making progress on correcting the imbalances that developed before the crisis.
Civil Society Day at the EESC, Brussels
The presence of the Various Interests’ Group, alongside the Employers’ Group and the Workers’ Group, ensures that the Committee is a dynamic force and is empowered to give full voice to the concerns of the various social, occupational, economic and cultural organisations that make up civil society in the Member States.
Social Media have clearly altered the nature of civil society and also have an impact on democratic and political engagement, particularly among civil society organisations.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) today convened key stakeholders to mark one year since the establishment of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) – the world's first direct, digital and transnational tool of participatory democracy. Organised in partnership with the Committee of the Regions, the European Citizen Action Service, Democracy International, the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe and Euronews, the European Citizens' Initiative Day 2013 provided the platform to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the initiative and debate future improvements.
The organisation of the annual ECI Day - which I hope will remain a landmark in years to come with more and more partners on board - is also clear proof of our commitment to initiate dialogue on this tool. Last year's event was only a small seminar to celebrate the launch of the ECI process, but it attracted many people.
We have also supported the ECI process by hosting technical working groups on the online signature collection software, bringing together IT experts and ECI organisers to see what can be improved on (participants will hear about the ongoing work during the afternoon's panel).