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Reform of European Citizens’ Initiative will make it easier for people to change direction of EU policy


Global Europe
The European Parliament today voted on the reform of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). The European Citizens' Initiative is a unique and innovative way for citizens to shape the EU by calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. Once an initiative gathers one million signatures, the Commission decides on what follow-up action to take. The reform voted today, will make it easier for organisers from different member states to work together on new initiatives.
Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, S&D Group spokesperson the reform of the ECI said:
“The fact that more than eight million people have participated in a European Citizens’ Initiative over the past five years shows just how strong the need for direct and cross-border democracy is in Europe. Unfortunately, only 4 out of 48 submitted citizens’ initiatives were able to collect the necessary number of signatures. In practice, it has become clear that changes to the law are needed to increase the effectiveness of the citizens’ initiative. The Commission’s legislative proposal has been on the table since September 2017. We must not lose any more time because the European Citizens’ Initiative must finally be younger, more user-friendly and less bureaucratic.
“The Council announced last week that it would not support one of the key social democratic demands: lowering the minimum age for participation in an initiative to 16 years across the EU. I wonder what the member states are really afraid of? The lowering of the minimum age to 16 years is an important signal to win young people to shape a democratic Europe. The earlier young people can actively participate in shaping the European project, the sooner they will do so in adulthood. As the European Civic Chamber, we must not give in on this point.
“MEPs - with the support of our group - have also committed today to change the rules of procedure of the European Parliament as soon as possible to allow citizens to directly influence the debates that take place in the Parliament. Following the public hearing of a successful citizens' initiative in the European Parliament, in which the organisers have the opportunity to present their initiative, the whole House should hold a plenary debate, including, if appropriate, passing a resolution on the concerns of the citizens' initiative.”


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