European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)
European citizens would for the first time be able to directly suggest new legislation through the European Citizens' Initiative, proposed in detail today by the European Commission. An innovation contained in the Lisbon Treaty, the ECI will allow at least one million citizens from at least one third of EU Member States to invite the European Commission to bring forward legislative proposals in areas where the Commission has the power to do so.
The proposal sets out how many signatures must be gathered from each country, and suggests that the Commission examine whether the initiative is admissible after 300,000 signatures have been gathered from three Member States. It sets a time limit of one year to collect signatures and gives the Commission four months to examine an initiative and decide how to act on it. The Commission hopes that the Council and Parliament will reach final agreement on the ECI before the end of this year, to allow the first initiatives to be brought forward in 2011.
Press release IP/10/397: European Citizens' Initiative: giving citizens new possibilities to influence EU policy