A new software tool to support your European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)
The European Commission is offering a new software tool to citizens that plan to invite the Commission to propose legislation on EU matters under the European Citizens’ initiative (ECI). The tool is available for free and in all EU official languages.
The ECI, launched in January by Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, allows citizens to launch an initiative in any area where the EU has competence to legislate, such as environment, agriculture, transport and public health. While citizens' initiatives cannot be run by organisations themselves, organisations can promote or support initiatives provided that they do so with full transparency.
Proposals can be submitted to the European Commission if these are signed by at least one million EU citizens coming from at least seven out of the 27 Member States. A minimum number of signatories needs to be reached per country. Since collecting these signatures on paper will be cumbersome and time consuming, the European Commission has developed a tool to collect statements of support electronically all over Europe from citizens backing the initiative.
The new tool offers two different modules. The first one is intended for citizens, allowing signatories to submit their statement of support to the proposed initiative via an online form. The second view allows organisers of an initiative to manage the collecting, storing and submitting of signatures.
The Commission also welcomes open source software (OSS) developers to add social networking and create mobile applications for its newly developed tool. If enough OSS developers show interest in building extensions to OCS, ISA will help them by fostering a development community, according to Mr Declan Deasy, Director for Information Systems and Interoperability Solutions at ISA.
‘In today's digital world, political initiatives mean IT systems,’ says Mr Deasy. ‘And we use open source, because of the Commission policy in effect since 2011, which gives preference to this type of software, particularly when geared towards external partners.’
The application comes complete with a cryptography tool, allowing the collected data to be stored and managed safely. It has been developed with the support of the ISA programme. The ISA programme is a Commission-driven EU programme that supports electronic communication between European Public administrations.
European Citizens' Initiative
The OCS Software tool
The ISA programme