This is the fourth edition of the Civil Society Day, so this initiative is rather young however with a solid ground. And let me tell you why. The Civil Society Day is the living proof of a partnership which is dear to me and to many of us in the EESC, a partnership between the EESC and European civil society expert networks in the form of what we call the Liaison Group. It is in the Liaison Group meetings last year that the civil society alliance for the European Year of Citizens was conceived and took form. This alliance is our partner for this conference and its members, European networks and national networks are here with us today.
Introduced on 1 April 2012 by the Treaty of Lisbon, the European Citizens' Initiative is the most important instrument of participative democracy in the European Union. By collecting at least 1 million signatures from at least 7 EU Member States, citizens have the right to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act or modify the existing one. This Guide is to provide you with an idea of how to get involved.