ECI at the EESC

The EESC has, to the extent that its remit permits, taken the lead role among the institutions in promoting the ECI. Over the years, the Committee has been building up a stronger position for citizens' initiatives and boosting their visibility in the daily work of the institutions:

In 2013, the EESC set up an ECI ad hoc group made up of nine members to provide political guidance on the ECI and follow developments in this area.

  • Until 2018, the EESC provided translations of the regulatory descriptions of each ECI's title and objectives. This was an official procedure agreed with the European Commission, which – due to its great usefulness to the ECI organisers – was enshrined in the new Regulation as part of the default services provided by the Commission.
  • Since the launch of the ECI in 2012, the EESC has organised an annual ECI Day conference, a high-profile event recognised at interinstitutional level, at which updates are presented and analysed and ECI organisers and stakeholders have an opportunity to network.
  • In 2018, the EESC's ECI Secretariat initiated regular meetings among ECI administrators from all relevant EU institutions (secretariats-general of the European Commission, Council, European Parliament, AFCO and PETI committees, European Committee of the Regions, and Ombudsman) to facilitate the exchange of new information and build up an efficient network of colleagues in the interest of quickly getting information to citizens.
  • The EESC provides information on the initiatives and citizens' rights. Its most widely distributed publication – the European Democracy Passport – has become a popular source of information for the general public and is presented and used at various events organised by EU institutions and civil society organisations. The Passport is available in all EU languages, with an interactive HTML version available online in English, French and German.
  • The EESC invites ECI organisers to its plenary sessions, section meetings on particular topics and ECI ad hoc group meetings to enable relevant contacts to be made and to facilitate networking, as well as allowing them to keep up to date with organisational issues.
  • Since May 2022, the EESC has applied an enhanced approach to European Citizens' Initiatives, whereby it can adopt own-initiative opinions on valid European Citizens' Initiatives before the Commission adopts its respective decision and when the subject of the initiative is relevant to the work of the EESC.
  • The EESC is part of the public hearings organised by the European Parliament on successful ECIs, before the Commission issues its official reply in the form of a communication. The European Commission regularly invites ECI ad hoc group members to take part in local events organised under the ECI communication campaign.
  • As part of its partnership scheme, the EESC may offer its premises and rooms to ECI organisers if they intend to hold workshops/seminars as part of their campaign.