Brussels, 31 October 2013
Time's up for supporters of the first European Citizens' Initiatives – what happens next?
Tomorrow, organisers of the first eight European Citizens' Initiatives (ECIs) run out of time to collect statements of support. Three groups claim to have reached the target of one million signatures. This includes a minimum number of signatures in at least seven Member States, as required by the ECI legislation. They include Right2Water, who believe 'water is a public good, not a commodity', One of Us, who seek to end EU financing of activities which presuppose the destruction of human embryos, and Stop Vivisection, who want to see an end to live animal experimentation.
Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: "I am greatly encouraged by the fact that three such diverse ECIs may have passed the threshold of success. It proves that this very ambitious and unique experiment in transnational participatory democracy has captured the imagination of people across Europe.
"I offer my commiserations to the organisers of the other five ECIs. But their efforts and energy were certainly not wasted. They have all succeeded in forging links with like-minded people across the continent, and sparking genuine pan-European debates on issues that are clearly very important to them. These are solid foundations on which they can continue to campaign."
National authorities now have three months to validate the signatures, a process which already started in September for the Right2Water initiative. Once a successful ECI is validated, the Commission will then have three months to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it. It will meet the organisers so they can explain the issues raised in their initiative in more depth. The organisers will also have the opportunity to present their initiative at a public hearing organised at the European Parliament. Finally, the Commission will adopt a Communication explaining its conclusions on the initiative, what action it intends to take, if any, and its reasoning.
European Citizens' Initiative website: