The European Commission has today decided to make a partial registration of a European Citizens' Initiative which invites the Commission to propose "Legal acts that clearly demonstrate the EU's intention to eliminate wage inequalities between Member States and which - to achieve this objective - allow for a more efficient cohesion of these states". The formal registration of this Initiative on 22 May 2017 will start a one-year process of collection of signatures of support by its organisers.
The Commission's decision to register the Initiative concerns only the legal admissibility of the proposal. The Commission has not analysed the substance at this stage. The Commission's Decision makes clear for which kind of legal acts signatures may be collected, dependent on the competences set out in the Treaties (see Annex).
Should the Initiative receive one million statements of support within one year, from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react within three months. The Commission can decide either to follow the request or not, and in both instances would be required to explain its reasoning.
European Citizens' Initiatives were introduced with the Lisbon Treaty and launched as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens in April 2012, upon the entry into force of the European Citizens' Initiative Regulation which implements the Treaty provisions.
Once formally registered, a European Citizens' Initiative allows one million citizens from at least one quarter of EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose a legal act in areas where the Commission has the power to do so.
The conditions for admissibility, as foreseen by the European Citizens' Initiative Regulation, are that the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission's powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, that it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and that it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.
For more information
Annex – Legal Acts for which statements of support may be collected
Legal acts of the Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties can be adopted:
- on guidelines which the Member States shall take into account in their employment policies;
- relating to the European Social Fund, which aims to render the employment of workers easier and to increase their geographical and occupational mobility within the Union, and to facilitate their adaptation to industrial changes and to changes in production systems, in particular through vocational training and retraining;
- in order to define the tasks, priority objectives and the organisation of the Structural Funds provided that the actions to be financed lead to the strengthening of the economic, social and territorial cohesion of the Union.
Legal acts of the Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties in order to support and complement the activities of the Member States can be adopted – provided that they do not apply to pay or to the rights of association, to strike or to impose lock-outs- in the fields of working conditions; of social security and social protection of workers; of protection of workers where their employment contract is terminated; of the information and consultation of workers; of representation and collective defence of the interests of workers and employers, including co-determination; of the integration of persons excluded from the labour market; of combating social exclusion; and of the modernisation of social protection systems.