European Citizens Initiative: Hearing at the European Parliament

EU decision-makers and stakeholders for the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) are gearing up for a planned three-year review of the ECI’s implementing Regulation 2011/201.

Debate on possible reform of the ECI begins this Thursday, 26 February 2015 with a public hearing on the ECI in the European Parliament. Organised jointly by the Constitutional Affairs and Petitions committee, it will be live streamed from 9:00 – 12:30 CET on EPTV.

The ECI allows one million citizens to invite the European Commission to propose a legal act to implement the treaties. Set out in article 11.4 of the Treaty of Lisbon, it has been in use since 1 April 2012. The Commission will submit a report on its implementation to the Council and Parliament before 1 April 2015.

So far, the ECI has turned out an empty promise for citizens. Not only is it criticised because of the immense administrative hurdles that citizens have to overcome before their initiative is formally registered, but, even worse than that, the European Commission, itself an unelected organism, claims it has the right to dump a successful citizens’ initiative without taking further action solely on the grounds that it disagrees with the policy that citizens are proposing. The case of the most successful ECI so far, ONE OF US, is pending before the CJEU.