Thursday 3 June

10.00 – 11.00 Opening session: The state of the European Citizens' Initiative

Through an interactive discussion, the session will take the pulse of the European Citizens' Initiative. Panellists from EU institutions will assess the recent developments and share their vision of this participatory democracy instrument.

Moderator: Daniela Vancic, Democracy International

  • Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic and Social Committee
  • Věra Jourová, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Values and Transparency
  • Pedro Silva Pereira, Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for European democracy and the European Citizens' Initiative 

Interpreting will be available in English, French, German and Polish.

11.00 – 12.30 Make the European Citizens' Initiative more impactful

2021 saw the first two pieces of legislation inspired by ECIs take effect. The European Commission replied to a successful ECI in January and will reply to another one in July, bringing the total number of ECIs to which the Commission has responded to six. Some organisers successfully collected the required signatures but were disappointed by the impact achieved. Others did not succeed in their collection campaign but their initiative has influenced EU policies. What can we learn from the different stories of ECIs? Beyond the uncertain political and legislative impact, can other benefits be expected when launching an ECI? How is success defined for an initiative and how can organisers increase their chances of achieving it?

Moderator: Kinga Joó, Chair of the EESC's ECI ad hoc Group

  • Loránt Vincze, Member of the European Parliament, organiser of the ECI Minority Safepack – one million signatures for diversity in Europe
  • Carmen Preising, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Sinkevičius, European Commission
  • Vincent Chauvet, Member of the European Committee of the Regions and organiser of the ECI Single Communication Tariff Act 
  • Helmut Burtscher-Schaden, organiser of the ECIs Ban glyphosate and protect people and the environment from toxic pesticides and Save bees and farmers! Towards a bee-friendly agriculture for a healthy environment 

Interpreting will be available in English, French, German and Polish.

14.00 – 15.00  Break-out session 1

One break-out workshop will be organised via INTERACTIO while the other will be via Microsoft Teams. Both workshops will be in English only. The platform used is indicated into brackets.  

ECI: the geography of success


This session will start with a presentation of different figures on the awareness and use of the ECI in the Member States and will discuss possible reasons why citizens are more familiar with and make greater use of the ECI tool in some countries and regions than others.

         Moderator: Assya Kavrakova, Executive Director, European Citizen Action Service

  • Silvia Kersemakers, ECI team leader, Secretariat-General, European Commission
  • Jérôme Quéré, Director of European Movement – France
  • David Schwartz, Senior Campaigner at WeMove Europe, campaign coordinator for the ECI Ban glyphosate
  • Paolo Petralia Camassa, Deputy Mayor of the City of Palermo/Italy 


How to raise funds for a European citizens' initiative

(Microsoft Teams)

Fundraising for an ECI campaign can come with many challenges. This session will identify those challenges and collect fundraising best practices and tips. Join for a live advice session and conversation with fundraising experts and former and current ECI organisers.

         Moderator: Daniela Vancic, Democracy International

  • Virginia Fiume, - A price for carbon to fight climate change
  • Anne Hardt, Fundraiser, Democracy International
  • Olga Kikou, organiser of the ECI "End the cage age"

15.15 – 16.15  Break-out session 2

One break-out workshop will be organised via INTERACTIO while the other will be via Microsoft Teams. Both workshops will be in English only. The platform used is indicated into brackets.

Lessons learned from ECI case law

(Microsoft Teams)

In addition to the European legislature, the Court of Justice plays an important role in shaping the ECI. The objective of this session is to shed some light on the case law of the Court of Justice and provide guidance for organisers of ECIs. The focus of the Court has up to now been on the registration procedure with the European Commission. At a very early stage, the Court already highlighted the importance of facilitating participation in the democratic life of the European Union and, in doing so, considerably strengthened the position of the European Citizens' Initiative. In its most recent case law, the Court also had the opportunity to provide clarification on the European Commission's leeway when it comes to the appraisal of a successful European Citizens' Initiative that was able to gather at least one million signatures across Europe.

The Court's case law raises various questions that we will explore in this session, including which requirements have to be met to successfully complete the registration procedure, what the limits of judicial protection of ECIs are and what the obligations of the Commission are when it replies to successful initiatives.

Moderator:  Carsten Berg, The ECI Campaign

  • Freya Clausen, référendaire (legal secretary at the Court of Justice of the EU) 
  • James Organ, Lecturer in Law at School of Law and Social Justice, University of Liverpool


How to campaign online: lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis


The session will focus on practical guidance related to online campaigning for a European citizens' initiative. It will highlight the best practices to follow in order to develop an effective communication strategy for a citizens' initiative, looking at all the different elements such as developing a social media presence, creating an attractive website and building effective networks.

Moderator: Elisa Lironi, Senior Manager European Democracy, European Citizen Action Service

  • Dénes András Nagy, Policy Advisor on Minority SafePack at FUEN and Researcher at the University of Public Service's Europe Strategy Research Institute - EUstrat, Hungary
  • Liesbeth Van den Bossche, EU Campaign Manager, WWF European Policy Office 


16.30 – 17.30  Same but different: the ECI's place in the participation infrastructure of the EU

The EU is currently taking steps towards more direct involvement of citizens in European policymaking.

The Conference on the Future of Europe is one of the milestones in this process. What does this evolution mean for the ECI? What is, can, and should be the role of the ECI in the EU's participation infrastructure?

Moderator: Christian Huesmann, Bertelsmann Stiftung

  • Dolors Montserrat, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the Committee on Petitions
  •  Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Member and former President of the European Committee of the Regions – President of the Parliament of the German-speaking community of Belgium 
  • Bruno Kaufmann, Global Democracy Correspondent at the Swiss Broadcasting Company and author of the "European Democracy Passport"
  • Maaike Geuens, lecturer at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 

Interpreting will be available in English, French, German, Spanish and Polish.

Friday 4 June - Spotlight on the initiatives 

9.30 – 12.30  One million signatures: Who are those citizens who want to shape EU law?

Meeting between journalists and organisers of ongoing initiatives.

If you are a journalist and would like to attend, please register here. For additional information you can contact Daniela Marangoni or Nicola Accardo (

12.30 – 13.30 Q&A session with the European Citizens’ Initiative Forum

The ECI Forum will reply to questions on the ECI.

  • Flavio Grazian, Participatory Democracy Manager, European Citizen Action Service
  • Hendrik Nahr, European Democracy Outreach Coordinator, European Citizen Action Service

13.30 – 16.30 Open mic session

Organisers of ongoing European citizens' initiatives will be given the floor to present their initiatives.

Moderator: Christophe Lefèvre, Member and former Chair of the EESC' ECI ad hoc Group

With the participation of the following initiatives: