Press release by György Schöpflin
“The European Citizens’ Initiative is by far the most attractive way for citizens to send their ideas and aspirations for change to the European Commission and the EU as a whole. The new regulations will make this smoother and more effective, and it only remains for the Commission to administer the ECI in a constructive spirit”, said György Schöpflin MEP, author of the Report, after a reform of the European Citizens’ Initiative Regulation was adopted today by the Constitutional Affairs Committee.
The European Citizens’ Initiative is a way for citizens to shape Europe by inviting the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. Once an initiative gathers 1 million signatures, the Commission decides on what follow-up action to take.
The main objective of the reform of the ECI Regulation is to enhance the effectiveness of the ECI, both in terms of making the tool more user-friendly and in terms of increasing its legitimacy. In order to enhance the trust in the ECI as an instrument of engagement of EU citizens, what the committee would like to see is a presumption that the Commission will submit a legislative act in response to a successful ECI within a year after its publication. Its decision not to submit a specific legislative proposal should be clearly and duly justified.
To ensure that the ECI achieves its full potential as a tool to foster debate, the committee wants the Parliament to be able to hold plenary debates, with the possibility of adopting a Motion for Resolution, to assess the actions taken by the Commission. To ensure its credibility, the Parliament is also pushing for increased transparency and accountability as regards support and the financing of the initiatives.