European Citizens' Initiative
Successful European citizen initiatives must trigger dialogue and proper follow-up at EU level
Six years after the introduction of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) with barely any impact on EU legislation, the constructive criticism, particularly from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and other institutions such as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman, is finally beginning to bear fruit, tempting the European Commission to review this important instrument of participative democracy.
Despite an overly complicated ECI tool, one million signatures collected for diversity in Europe
At its plenary on 20 September, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) invited the initiators of the European Citizens' Initiative Minority SafePack – represented by Loránt Vincze, president of the Federal Union of European Nationalities – to present their request, which is aimed at improving the protection of national and linguistic minorities in Europe
The European Economic and Social Committee and the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council wish to hold a joint information seminar on the European Citizens' Initiative. In the light of current societal developments and the growing involvement of citizens in the day-to-day political life of the state, especially in the context of the citizens' campaigns in France, it seems a good time to organise a specific event on this instrument of participatory democracy at EU level. Speakers will include members of the Committee and the Council, as well as representatives of the European Commission and organisers of ECIs launched in France. The aim of the seminar is to present the ECI, as well as the work done by the EESC in this field, and to exchange experiences of initiatives undertaken at national and European level to better understand and manage the impact of citizen-led campaigns on the actions and decisions of legislators.
Following the new European Commission proposal of September 2017, the European citizens' initiative has new wind in its sails. It now faces a lot of changes, many of which may greatly simplify administrative and organizational burdens. These changes will soon be discussed in the three-way consultations between the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.
The ECI DAY 2018 will seize the moment and offer a first-hand insight into the positions of the three legislators, represented respectively by the First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, the European Parliament general rapporteur György Schöpflin and the 2018 Council Presidency ministers / state secretaries from Bulgaria and Austria.
The year 2019 marks a new step in the life of the European Citizens' Initiative. In March, the European Parliament voted on the final text of the new ECI Regulation, which proposes a series of administrative simplifications and procedural changes to make this tool more citizen-friendly and less burdensome for the organisers. ECI Day 2019 was the first to present you with the final text of the new Regulation and explored further how it was intended to benefit active citizens wishing to influence the EU's agenda. This year, the theme of the conference was Digital Voices, reflecting the ongoing changes in the global trends in voting and citizens' active participation. Digital natives no longer wait for elections to express their preferences; they voice their concerns at all times and at every opportunity. The ECI Day explored these new digital trends in the particular context of the European elections.