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European Commission - Press release

Europe Day sees launch of first European Citizens' Initiative

Brussels, 8 May 2012 – The European Commission will mark Europe Day tomorrow (9) by registering the very first European Citizens' Initiative. Other proposed initiatives will also be added to the online register in the coming days.

"Fraternité 2020 – Mobility. Progress. Europe" is the title of the first initiative, proposed by a committee of EU citizens living in Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania and Spain. Their stated motivation is 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".

The organisers of the initiative – which boasts registration number ECI(2012)000001 – now have 12 months to collect 1 million signatures from at least seven Member States. If they succeed, they can invite the European Commission to propose legislation on the issue.

Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: "I am thrilled that European Citizens' Initiatives are finally a reality. This is a great boost for participatory democracy in Europe. Now the race is on to see which initiative will be the first to gather one million signatures."

Background

The European Citizens' Initiative was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty. It allows 1 million citizens from at least one quarter of EU Member States to invite the European Commission to bring forward proposals for legal acts in areas where the Commission has the power to do so.

The Regulation governing European Citizens' Initiatives started to apply on 1 April 2012. Since then, requests for registration can be made by citizens' committees made up of at least seven EU citizens who are resident in at least seven EU Member States.

Before registering an initiative the Commission must verify that it meets certain minimal legal criteria, i.e. that it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous, vexatious, contrary to European values or outside the scope of the Commission's powers.

Please also see MEMO/12/235

ECI website and register:

http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/welcome

Contacts :

Antonio Gravili (+32 2 295 43 17)

Marilyn Carruthers (+32 2 299 94 51)


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