European Citizens' Initiative Day 2013: extracts from the common press conference by Maroš Šefčovič, Staffan Nilsson, Gerald Häfner, and Bruno Kaufmann
Type: Summary of press conference
Brussels - European Economic and Social Committee
On 9 April 2013, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Gerald Häfner, Member of the EP, and Bruno Kaufmann, President of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe (IRI), held a press conference on the occasion of the first anniversary of the launch of the European Citizen Initiative.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Cutaway of a poster
||Joint arrival of Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), and Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration
||Soundbite by Maroš Šefčovič (in ENGLISH): How enthusiastic everybody was about the ECI? Meaning that we would have clearly appreciated more support from the Member States, to make it more known because, still despite the number of initiatives, there is a lot to do in raising the public awareness of the ECI and to present it to the citizens that this is a tool for you, you have a say in what is going on in Brussels and I think with the deepening of EU integration there will be also a stronger will and wish from the citizens to have a direct say in how the European politics are shaped.
||Soundbite by Staffan Nilsson (in ENGLISH): If we go deeply in the initiative, if I sign the initiative as individual, how could I be a little more free and independent when we monitor and when we focus on the process. I think this it would be a facilitator but not go in favour or against. We will monitor when will finish the initiative. We will give advice to the Commission on our own.
||Soundbite by Gerald Häfner, Member of the EP (in ENGLISH): Especially in the year of citizens, I would propose that all three institutions, Council, Parliament and the Commission together should make a huge attempt to let people know about the ECI with the manner where we don't just say there is an instrument but with the manner where we say we ask you to share your proposals, your ideas, so come up with them for a better European Union, for better European politics and we will follow your proposals, not in the sense that we can obliged in the beginning to accept everything but in the sense that we are interested in that and we want to hear what people proposed for Europe and want to see what we can make out of it.
||Soundbite by Bruno Kaufmann, President of the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe (IRI) (in ENGLISH): For too long time, the integration issue has been so much prevailing the technocratic aspect of it because we wanted to avoid things which happened in the past that we underestimated the need of having avenues, to have new developments, new ideas in terms of democracy consign and there obviously the ECI is starting success.
||General view of the conference room