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Brussels, 14 June 2010

Statement by Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on the Council agreement on the European Citizens' Initiative

I welcome the highly satisfactory agreement reached today by the Council on the European Citizens' Initiative.

This should allow us to move forward rapidly in negotiations with the European Parliament on this important new instrument for participatory democracy.

I'd like to thank the Spanish Presidency for its excellent work in finding a compromise and to thank the Member States for their constructive attitude.

For the Commission, it was very important to maintain the approach in our original proposal on examining the admissibility of initiatives.

I'm happy that the Council agreed that 100,000 signatures must be collected before the Commission takes a formal decision on whether an initiative falls within its competence.

This will ensure that the admissibility decision does not prevent a genuine pan-European debate from taking place on issues which are of importance to our citizens.

At the same time, it will prevent the system from being overloaded with a flood of initiatives which lack genuine public support.

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