The European Citizens’ Initiative “Mum Dad & Kids”, which campaigns against the arbitrary re-definition of “marriages” and “families”, has, eight months after its commencement, already fulfilled one of the two criteria to make it successful, surpassing a national threshold in at least seven Member States of the EU. In total, the number of signatures so far collected is estimated at between 400.000 and 500.000, but could also be higher, given that many signatures collected on paper reach the organizers only with some delay. The initiative now looks set to easily meet its official goal of crossing the threshold of one million signatures by 3 April 2017, one year after its commencement.
Yet there seems a conflict to be going on behind the scenes between the organizers and the European Commission, which right from the beginning had bemoaned the fact that citizens want to defend the natural concept of a family, which according to the European Commission “involves highly controversial and emotionally charged issues of greater interest to minorities than to the vast majority of EU citizens” and fails to ” move European law or the European project forward”. Ironically (but yet telling for the Commission’s lack of sense for reality), the large majority of children in Europe are born and grow up in stable Mum-Dad-kids families, which are thus the most important source of regeneration and anchor of stability in an increasingly atomized society – whereas, by contrast, the re-definition of “marriage” and “family” to cater for the special interests of people with sexual disorders could indeed be described as being “of greater interest to minorities than to the vast majority of EU citizens”. Yet certain Commissioners, especially Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Věra Jourová, have already been seen to take radical stances in favour of these pressure groups, with Timmermans promising to ILGA Europe, the Commission-funded fake “NGO” for sodomites, to impose on Member States that they must recognize the legal effects sodo-“marriages” even when their own legal orders do not provide for them. Thus, it is clear for everyone on which side the Commission mandarins stand.
Given this from the outset hostile attitude, it is perhaps no wonder that the European Commission does all it can to prevent the pro-family ECI from being successful. One part of the strategy is to shorten the time within which signatures can be collected by one third, claiming that the collection of signatures must end one year after the day on which the ECI has been officially registered, rather than one year after the signature collection has actually commenced.
This stands not only in open contradiction to the European Parliament’s position, but also to the wording of the relevant provision in Regulation 211/2011 on the ECI, which clearly stipulates that “statements of support shall be collected after the date of registration of the proposed citizens’ initiative and within a period not exceeding 12 months.”
The organizers’ committee has announced that, in conformity with that provision, the collection of signatures shall continue until the 3rd April 2017, and has requested the Commission to remove from its website misleading information that indicates otherwise. So far it does not seem that the Commission has given an official reply to this request, but it has not corrected the false statement either, thereby potentially incurring legal responsibilities. A Croatian newspaper, Novi List, has reported that upon its request the Commission confirmed that “the deadline expires on 11 December and cannot be prolonged”.
This answer is clearly in bad faith. Those familiar with precedent ECIs know very well that this stands in contradiction to the Commission’s previous point of view. Indeed, back in 2012 the Commission did recognize that the signature collection period should be calculated as from the day on which, the online collection system having been set up, signatures could actually collected. More than ten ECIs benefited from this – including the three ECIs that have so far the only ones to collect the required 1 million statements of support.
Once again it seems that even a non-binding petition like the “European Citizens’ Initiative” is more democracy than the Commission can stand – in particular when they challenge one of the Commissioners’ ideological pet projects…