“This particular European citizens’ initiative is historic because its response by the Commission falls closest in line with the original demands of the organizers, in comparison to the Commission's responses to other successful ECIs,” says Daniela Vancic, European Program Manager at Democracy International. “It is a good step in the right direction for the instrument of the ECI, which needs to be met with proper political impact in order to motivate citizens to continue using it.”
The initiative was officially registered in September 2018. The decision of the Commission comes after a hearing in the European Parliament and submission and verification of over 1.3 million signatures in October 2020, where the Commission had six months to decide on the course of action it decides to pursue. The European Parliament hosted a public hearing for the initiative organizers, followed by a plenary debate where it overwhelmingly demanded a ban on the use of caging farmed animals.
Legislation inspired by two other citizens’ initiatives, Right2Water and Stop Glyphosate, went into effect this year. By 2022, a public consultation will also be carried out to assess the impact of the benefits to animal welfare and the socio-economic and environmental implications of the proposed legislation. The Commission is working towards entering the proposed legislation on farmed caging into force in 2027.
The response to the End the Cage Age European citizens’ initiative comes on the 10th anniversary of Democracy International, who has been advocating for a more citizens-friendly, politically impactful ECI since the early days of the instrument. Before becoming a registered association, founding members of Democracy International lobbied for the inclusion of the ECI in the Lisbon Treaty at the European Convention in the early 2000s. Democracy International strongly welcomes the decision of the European Commission to adopt the initiative’s aims and encourages further positive responses to successful initiatives which does justice to the support of citizens and organizers.
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