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European Citizens´ Initiative Forum

Webinar 'Collecting signatures for your citizens’ initiative', 2021

Start date: 30/03/2021
End date: 30/03/2021
Current status: Closed
Updated on: 14/04/2021

The webinar recording is available below

Guest Speakers:

Julie Steendam (European Citizens’ Initiative Organiser, Right to Cure)

Ella Jakubowska (European Citizens’ Initiative Organiser, Reclaim Your Face - Civil society initiative for a ban on biometric mass surveillance practices)

Daniela Vancic (European Program Manager, Democracy International)

Moderator: Flavio Grazian, Participatory Democracy Manager, European Citizen Action Service

Languages: EN

If you missed the webinar, check the video recording (available in English) to learn from the experience of ongoing initiatives’ organisers and experts about strategies for reaching the target of one million signatures and the different thresholds in Member States. The speakers also share their experiences of collecting signatures during Covid-19 and how to keep their campaigns flexible under the respective restrictions. The discussion amongst experts also explores the importance of preparing and running strategic campaigns both online and in person, to successfully collect signatures.

Julie Steendam is the coordinator of the European Citizens' Initiative Right to Cure - No Profit on Pandemic. The campaign was launched in November 2020, and is by now a coalition of over 300 European organisations with the ambition to collect 1 million signatures to pass a legislative proposal in the European Commission to make vaccines and treatments against Covid-19 public goods.

Ella Jakubowska is a policy and campaigns officer at the digital rights network European Digital Rights (EDRi). Previously she worked for an engineering and technology company and then spent time researching the intersection of human rights, technology and society from a feminist sociological perspective. A UK native, Ella now lives in Brussels where she advocates for the protection of people’s digital rights in the EU.

Daniela Vancic is the European Programme Manager at Democracy International, an NGO that promotes stronger citizens’ participation in political decision making, with experience in the European Citizens’ Initiative since the tool’s inception. Daniela has four years of campaign- and network-building experience, and for the last three years, she has been carrying out the European campaigns of Democracy International. Daniela has worked extensively on the European Citizens’ Initiative, from offering campaigning and fundraising advice to organisers, to advocating for stronger implementation of the tool’s regulation, and making the tool more well-known to citizens. 

Flavio Grazian is Participatory Democracy Manager at the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), where he works on developing and implementing EU projects, with a particular focus on the European Citizens’ Initiative and participatory democracy at EU level. He is the project coordinator of the European Citizens’ Initiative Forum.

Webinar Agenda

1. Introduction by Flavio Grazian [Minute 0 to 4]

2. Overview of the European Citizens’ Initiative by Flavio Grazian [Minute 4 to 15]

3. Panel discussion with Julie Steendam, Ella Jakubowska and Daniela Vancic [Minute 15 to 56]

4. Q&A with Julie Steendam, Ella Jakubowska and Daniela Vancic [Minute 56 to 1h12]

In this webinar, you will find answers to the following questions:

- What are the main suggestions for preparing an effective signature collection strategy and gain support for your initiative?

- How does collecting signatures for a European Citizens’ Initiative look like on a practical level (which languages, platforms, and channels to use and how)?

- How to successfully collect signatures during COVID-19 restrictions?

The key takeaways from this webinar are:

- Personal connections are important when collecting signatures. Organisers may prepare messages (for all kinds of platforms, including instant messaging) that supporters can then share in their network to make their initiative better known.

- It is possible to collect signatures successfully while respecting the COVID-19 restrictions. Organisers can even focus on building personal contacts through phone calls. They should make sure to provide easily digestible information for online sharing and be creative about symbolic demonstrations – one person standing up for a cause can attract media attention! 

- Organisers should plan their communications strategy carefully: they should define their target audience and tailor their message by using different channels (social media, videos, articles, phone calls, newsletters) and languages (official EU languages and even minority languages!). To make involvement easy, they should simplify the message.

- Active outreach and alliance building is key. Organisers should make sure to contact civil society organisations to also make use of their networks and focus on making their topic relevant and identifiable to the general public.

- Target influential stakeholders to raise awareness about the issues and put the topic on the public agenda irrespective of the outcome of the signature collection.

Webinar Collecting Signatures
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on the ECI Forum reflect solely the point of view of their authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the position of the European Commission or of the European Union.
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