One year after the launch of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), now is a good time to assess this first year, hear the experiences of organisers, draw conclusions from the lessons learnt, devise intermediate solutions and start preparing for the 2015 revision of the regulation.
The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is one of the major innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon, aimed at increasing direct democracy in the EU. The initiative enables one million EU citizens, who are nationals of at least one quarter of the Member States, to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area within the competences of the EU.
The incoming Croatian Presidency has requested the EESC to draft an opinion on the topic of "The effects of campaigns on participation in political decision-making".
In view of the European elections and campaigns aimed at informing European citizens conducted by the institutions of the European Union and the Member States, a public hearing will be held in the morning of Wednesday 5 February, at the EESC. The aim of the hearing is to examine the current state of play and lessons learned from the May 2019 elections, and to look at the ways forward, i.e. how to enhance participation and disable disinformation of European citizens..
On 6-7 December, the Diversity Europe Group held its extraordinary meeting at the EESC premises (VMA Building - Room VMA3). During this meeting entitled 'Bursting Brussels' 'Bubble': How to communicate Your Europe', EESC Group III Members learned more about efficient communication tools in order to become EU 'ambassadors' and to communicate the way they feel about Europe.
This year's Civil Society Days will take place right after the plenary session at which the European Economic and Social Committee celebrates its 60th anniversary.
The focus of this Civil Society Days will be on fostering the current debate about the future of Europe and on highlighting the role across Europe of the civil society organisations which come together in the EESC to represent "Europe at work".
In line with this twofold emphasis, the CivSocDays 2018 will address Europe at work in relation to a dimension which has permeated our everyday working and living environment and will affect and shape our future, as well as the future of Europe: the digital world.
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.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) play an important role in fostering participatory democracy and active citizenship in Europe and beyond; EU funding is paramount to support this work. The goal of this EESC hearing is to present working solutions and come up with recommendations for revised financial regulations and the future Multiannual Financial Framework after 2020 that would enable better civil dialogue and easier and transparent access to resources.
The event will focus on the role of civil society in preventing radicalisation of young people. The debates will serve to clarify how EU policy-makers can help civil society practitioners to successfully prevent radicalisation. The first panel will cover different elements of anti-radicalisation policy, focusing on what is needed to increase success rates. The second panel will focus on the role of education in preventing radicalisation. Participants will share their view on what can be done to render more effective existing civil society initiatives aiming to prevent radicalisation.
The EESC has been working on an information report the aim of which was to investigate how European Parliament election procedures are determined in each Member State, taking into account the needs of persons with disabilities and how this affects their right to vote.
In this context, a public hearing was organized to present the first conclusions of the report and to look into successful projects and practices.
The ECI DAY 2017 focused on the individual involvement of citizens and their active role in policy shaping. It was organised in the context of the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaties, the first treaty to talk about European citizenship, in order to show all the positive developments of the concept and a number of new tools to involve citizens. The theme "I participate!" was to underline the importance of citizens' personal involvement in building up a comprehensive democratic system in the EU.