The European Commission has today decided to register a European Citizens' Initiative inviting the Commission "to recommend to the Council to repeal the negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and not to conclude the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)" ('Stop TTIP' Initiative). The formal registration of this Initiative on 10 July 2017 will start a one-year process of collection of signatures of support by its organisers.
This registration follows an initial Commission Decision to refuse to register the 'Stop TTIP' Initiative on 10 September 2014, which was annulled by the General Court of the European Union on 10 May 2017. The Commission has decided not to appeal the judgment.
The Commission has reassessed the proposed Initiative, which was originally submitted in July 2014, and decided to register it. However, the request for a proposal not to sign CETA has now become devoid of purpose, since it was signed on 30 October 2016. Signatures of support for this Citizens' Initiative may therefore be collected on the understanding that they aim for other legal acts.
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. 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.
The Juncker Commission has taken an open approach to the registration of European Citizens' Initiatives, allowing when justified the partial registration of initiatives in order to stimulate citizen participation at EU level.
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