Agreement on European Citizens' Initiative
"I'm delighted that the Parliament and Council have managed to reach agreement on the Citizens' Initiative so quickly" said Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Inter-institutional Relations and Administration. "The ECI will introduce a whole new form of participatory democracy to the EU. It is a major step forward in the democratic life of the Union. It's a concrete example of bringing Europe closer to its citizens. And it will foster a cross border debate about what we are doing in Brussels and thus contribute, we hope, to the development of a real European public space."
The European Commission warmly welcomes today's agreement on the European Citizens' Initiative, which will for the first time allow citizens to directly suggest new EU legislation. An innovation contained in the Lisbon Treaty, the ECI will allow at least one million citizens from at least one quarter 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 organisers of a Citizens' Initiative, a citizens' committee composed of at least seven citizens who are residents of at least seven different Member States, will have one year to collect signatures and the Commission will have three months to examine an initiative and decide how to act on it. On request of the Council, the legislation on the European Citizens' Initiative will start applying only one year after it is published in the Official Journal, meaning that the first initiatives can be considered from early 2012.