Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič discusses European Citizens' Initiative with national parliamentarians
Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice-President for Inter-institutional Relations and Administration, has called for rapid agreement on the Commission's proposal for a European Citizens' Initiative: "The European Citizens' Initiative is one of the Treaty's most important innovations. It adds a whole new dimension of participatory democracy to the Union and represents a significant step forward in the democratic life of the Union. It provides a unique opportunity to bring the Union closer to the citizens and to encourage greater cross-border debate about EU issues. It is therefore important that this new instrument is made available to citizens as soon as possible."
Mr. Šefčovič was speaking at the Interparliamentary Committee meeting organised by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament, which brought together the key players in agreeing the legislation on the ECI, including Belgian minister Olivier Chastel, for the Presidency, and the co-rapporteurs in the EP, Zita Gurmai and Alain Lamassoure. He underlined how the Lisbon Treaty has strengthened the role of national parliaments: "The Commission welcomes and encourages the active participation of national parliaments in discussions on key initiatives and proposals and would like to continue to involve national parliaments more closely in European affairs. We are convinced that by doing so, we can jointly contribute to bringing Europe closer to citizens and to improving the process of policy formulation."