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European Citizens’ Initiative: a keystone of democracy at risk

European Citizens’ Initiative: a keystone of democracy at risk

2015. 02. 26.

“I am afraid that we have not yet quite absorbed this new reality in which citizens are co-equal to the EP and the Council with respect to asking the European Commission to initiate a legislative proposal which is, in fact, a Copernican Revolution in the European institutional landscape. The ECI, as a powerful tool of intensified direct democracy, has the potential to become a cornerstone of a truly participatory and inclusive Union that would be more responsive to arising concerns of new generations of European men and women about the quality of their life and its multidimensional sustainability in the post-crisis Europe”, said Hübner, Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee. “People want to know what their Europe is for. There are different expectations but Europe is in the process of recuperating its socio-economic health and confidence of people. Participatory democracy would facilitate Europe's capacity to meet people's expectations”, she added.

“The ECI has the potential to be one of the most effective ways of connecting the citizens of Europe to the EU. It is radical in that it gives citizens the possibility to launch legislation at EU level and to affect the direction of European integration”, said György Schöpflin, the EP's Rapporteur on the implementation of the ECI. “To date, the ECI has not been a great success – too many initiatives have fallen by the wayside or, worse, come up against the legalistic and bureaucratic assumptions of the Commission. Obviously this must change. The direction this change must take, its goals and strategies are now part of a debate in the European Parliament and also in the Commission”, he concluded.

From the entry-into-force of the ECI on 1 April 2012 to the present day, only 49 initiatives have been submitted for registration to the European Commission. Only 2 of the 49 received follow-up. 20 were declared inadmissible.