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Help make EU law – from 1 April 2012 - 27/01/2012

Logo with the words “European Citizens’ Initiative” © EU

You will soon be able to call on the Commission to make legislative proposals on EU policy. A new website has all the information on how to launch a “citizens’ initiative”.

The EU’s citizens’ initiative gives you a more direct say in the union’s policies – it enables like-minded citizens to ask the Commission to propose new laws on specific issues.

The Commission, whose role is to draft EU legislative proposals, has a formal obligation to consider any request that meets the requirements.

The rules and procedures are available on the new European Citizens' Initiative website – where you can also register and launch your initiative.

Initiatives may relate to any policy area for which the Commission has the right to propose legislation, for example the environment, agriculture, transport or public health.

How to launch an initiative

An organising committee made up of at least 7 citizens living in at least 7 different EU countries can launch an initiative.

They must ask for their initiative to be registered on the new website before collecting statements of support from other citizens.

The Commission has 2 months to consider whether the proposed initiative follows the rules – for example, it cannot be “manifestly contrary” to the EU’s values.

If the registration is confirmed, organisers have 1 year to gather 1 million signatures from at least 7 EU countries, including a minimum number from each country.

Organisers can collect statements of support by paper or online. Their online system must be certified. The Commission has created free software to help organisers collect statements via the Internet.

Once collected, the statements must be certified by the countries from which they were gathered and submitted to the Commission.

Next steps

The Commission then has 3 months to examine the initiative. It can decide to propose new legislation, launch a study or forgo further action – and must explain its decision publicly.

Any legislative proposals will be submitted to EU governments (sitting as the Council of the European Union) and, in most cases, the European Parliament.

If the proposal is adopted, it will become EU law.

Guide to the European citizens’ initiative

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