Brussels, 26 October 2012
Green light for first European Citizens' Initiative running on Commission's own servers
Following certification of their online collection system (OCS) by the Luxembourg authorities, Fraternité 2020 has become the first European Citizens' Initiative to start collecting statements of support on the European Commission's own servers. Fraternité 2020 wants to "enhance EU exchange programmes – like Erasmus or the European Voluntary Service – in order to contribute to a united Europe based on solidarity among citizens", and was the first ECI to be registered by the Commission.
The Commission made the offer to host ECIs on its own servers in July, as a radical response to issues reported by some organisers in finding suitable hosting solutions and setting up their OCS systems. It also pledged to help organisers interested in using this service to have their OCS systems certified so that they could start collecting statements of support as soon as possible.
Since then, the Commission has worked closely with organisers and the Ministère de la Fonction publique et de la Réforme administrative - Centre des technologies de l'information de l'Etat (CTIE) in Luxembourg. The CTIE is the designated certification authority in Luxembourg, where the Commission's servers are located.
This close co-operation has now yielded tangible results. The "Fraternité 2020" initiative has signed a hosting agreement with the Commission and the CTIE has certified its OCS system, the last step before the website for online collection of statements of support for this initiative could go online on the Commission's servers. The website opened today.
Vice-President Šefčovič said: "This result proves that the Commission is absolutely determined to make this new instrument of participatory democracy a success. I said the organisers of the first initiatives would face no insurmountable stumbling blocks to get their initiatives off the ground, and I meant it. I would like to thank the Luxembourg authorities, in particular Minister Octavie Modert. Their excellent cooperation enabled the Commission to deliver on this commitment."
Mr Luca Copetti, a representative of the Citizens' Committee for Fraternité 2020 said: “We are thrilled that we have now started collecting statements of support for our initiative. We have long been eager to promote our vision of a united Europe based on solidarity among citizens through this new instrument of transnational democracy. We started preparing ourselves for it more than two years ago and we were in pole position when the Regulation entered into force. As the first initiative registered by the Commission, we have experienced some challenges which could not have been anticipated. We are grateful that the Commission has helped us to overcome them, and that we can now concentrate on bringing about a truly European debate around our proposals, which hopefully will result in reaching the required level of support.”
Luxembourg Minister Octavie Modert said: “I am honoured to certify the first OCS system of a European Citizens' Initiative in Luxembourg and thus contribute to giving European citizens a powerful tool of participatory democracy at EU level. I am especially glad because this certification is a true example of the European state of mind, showed through the collaboration of the European Commission and my services at the CTIE. Luxembourg is proud to host the servers for the OCS systems and is willing to offer its services for ongoing collaboration with the Commission in order to assure a good handling of this participatory tool and to offer a sustainable solution for organisers of citizens’ initiatives.”
The ECI co-rapporteurs in the European Parliament also welcomed the news. Mr Alain Lamassoure MEP said: "I am delighted to see that, thanks to the Commission's efforts, all the technical conditions are now fulfilled to enable citizens to take part in the elaboration of EU law."
Mrs Zita Gurmai MEP added: “I’m glad to see that the first ever registered ECI is now ready to start collecting signatures online. I believe that the discussion represented in this ECI will enhance considerably the European debate. This cooperation among the stakeholders has proven that if there is a will, there is always a way to overcome technical difficulties and I trust that this spirit will continue to guide the everyday steps needed to make this tool of participatory democracy a valuable asset for European citizens.”
Fraternité 2020 is the first ECI to be hosted on Commission servers, but it is not the first ECI to start collecting statements of support online. That honour goes to "Right 2 Water", which is using a private hosting solution. Both use the free, open-source OCS software provided by the Commission.
In addition, the Commission has already registered 10 other initiatives, four of which have already signed a hosting agreement with the Commission for their OCS systems and are expected to be able to start collecting statements of support very soon.
List of open initiatives:
Q&A on ECIs: