EESC opinion: Citizens' initiative

EESC opinion: Citizens' initiative

1.Conclusions and recommendations

1.1. The Committee welcomes basic principles of the Commission's proposal, especially the three-stage approach of formal registration, an admissibility check of the subject-matter, and political evaluation.

1.2. The Committee sees its role in two phases: firstly, as a facilitator of embryonic citizens' initiatives, enabling those involved to network and possibly to meet, etc.; secondly, as an institutional mentor, issuing an opinion to assist the Commission in evaluating a successful initiative, holding hearings, and so on. The Committee will also take part in publicity campaigns.

1.3. However, the Committee does have a number of improvements to propose, including:

  • a clearer reference to the values of the Union as grounds for turning down registrations;
  • scrapping the requirement for various identity numbers when an initiative is signed;
  • using the residence principle to classify signatories;
  • extension of the time-limit to eighteen months;
  • development of open-source software for online collection of signatures;
  • lowering the minimum number of Member States to 1/4;
  • lowering the threshold for an admissibility check to 50 000 signatories;
  • a review of the regulation after three years;
  • instigating inter-institutional cooperation.