Of the three European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECIs) that have so far been successful in collecting more than 1 million signatures, the European Commission has now given a negative response also to the third one, Stop Vivisection, stating in a formal communication that it does not intend to take any of the measures proposed by the citizens.
The organizers of the ECI have, quite foreseeably, expressed their disappointment with regard to this decision.
This time the Commission has some good arguments to justify its refusal to take action. One is that the initiative’s request to abrogate Directive 2010/63/EU would have the effect not of prohibiting or at least limiting the practice of animal experimentation, but, on the contrary, of deregulating it – with the result that there would be more, and not less, experiments on animals. Secondly, the Commission (rightly) points out that if new chemical or cosmetic products were to be placed on the market without first having been tested on animals, the consequence would be to irresponsibly turning consumers into human guinea pigs. Experimentations and clinical trials on animals do not take place to satisfy the sadistic instincts of researchers, but to limit risks for human consumers.
Given this very clear line of reasoning, one fails, however, to understand how the Commission can in the same communication say that it “shares the Citizens’ Initiative’s conviction that animal testing should be phased out”. If phased out, what would replace it?
More importantly, however, with the Commission having given dismissive replies to three out of three successful ECIs, there is a growing sense that the idea to give new legitimacy to the EU by introducing the ECI as an efficient instrument of participatory democracy is not more than an empty promise.
According to information on the European Commission’s website, 20 of 51 applications for the registration of an ECI have so far been rejected. Of the remaining 31 initiatives only three have been able to collect more than 1 million signatures. Of these three, all three have been turned down by the Commission.
This does not really look like a success story. The EU remains under the control of technocratic elites.