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EU Commission blocks democratic reform

The campaigners meet with MEPs in Strasbourg on 28 October

EU Commission blocks democratic reform

01-04-2016

In February 2016 the European Commission declared it would not improve the legislation of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). This refusal occurred in spite of demands by the European Parliament and by thousands of people from all across Europe to reform the instrument of participation at EU level.

Democracy International calls to action together with Mehr Demokratie and the ECI Campaign against this scandalous blockade of democratic reform in the EU.

Sign our petition now, it's our final call to save the ECI!

Are you one of the 76,397 people who demanded a more powerful European Citizens’ Initiative and signed the petition “Save the ECI” launched by Democracy International, Mehr Demokratie Germany and WeMove.EU in 2015? (link to hyperlink to delivery of signatures)

The good news is that our petition successfully convinced the European Parliament of almost all of our reform proposals, which they adopted with strong majority on 28 October 2015. But here comes the bad news: Even though the European Parliament urged the European Commission to take the necessary legal action to implement these reforms, the Commission refuses to act. Instead, it announces that it “considers that after only three years after its effective entry into application, it is at this point too early to launch a legislative revision of the Regulation”. Before any revision, further assessment would first need to be made (read here the document by the European Commission).

This reasoning is scandalous. The European Parliament – as co-legislator of the European Union – and civil society groups have thoroughly assessed the workings and the impact of the European Citizen’s Initiative (include hyperlink to all papers, perhaps on The ECI Campaign). And all stakeholders have clearly stated that a revision of the ECI regulation is necessary for the ECI to survive and to fulfill its potential. A revision cannot wait until another review, which is foreseen every three years.

In sum, the ECI needs the following reforms to become more accessible and more powerful:

  • The political follow-up to successful ECIs must be strengthened, else it will remain nothing more than a sham
  • Unnecessary burdens for organisers of ECIs must be removed, such as full personal liability for the entire campaign, or losing valuable time to collect signatures due to lack of time flexibility
  • On the longer run, the tool must be upgraded to enable more binding decision-making by citizens through referenda at the European level.

Democracy International, Mehr Demokratie Germany and WeMove.EU are convinced that this is the very last chance to save the European Citizens’ Initiative. The three organisations have allied to raise public awareness and to protest. We will not let the Commission reject the democracy reform triggered by the European Parliament and the citizens of Europe. The European project can only proceed with the citizens if it is to guarantee stability and solidarity.

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