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