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Published: 12/03/2013 11:51

Fancy changing the law?

What would you do if you were in charge? The citizens’ initiative allows you to have input into EU policies and even propose your own legislation.

Citizens Initiative

© European Commission

The European citizens' initiative allows you to participate directly in EU policy making, by calling on the European Commission to propose a new law.

 

It starts with an idea…

If your idea is in a policy area where the Commission has powers to propose laws, you can submit a citizens' initiative for it.

There are obviously some formal conditions you need to meet to do this – in particular, you can't go it alone: your initiative needs to be submitted jointly through a “citizens' committee” .

And you need to get 1 million signatures in a number of different EU countries. But get that far and you may be in business!

 

What happens next?

With your million signatures you have a guarantee that:

  • the Commission will seriously examine your initiative – you can even meet Commission officials in person to explain your idea in detail
  • you can present your initiative at a public hearing in the European Parliament

The Commission is legally bound to make a formal response, spelling out either what action it will propose, and why – or why it cannot act.

If the Commission decides to act, this will be in the form of a formal proposal for a new law. However, to be enacted, the law must be approved by (usually) both the European Parliament and EU governments, acting jointly through the EU Council .