6 May 2010 - The European citizens’ initiative
The Lisbon Treaty introduced a new form of public participation in European Union policy shaping, called the European Citizens’ Initiative. It formalizes the participatory democracy that completes representative democracy, but it does not replace it. It enables citizens who are nationals of a significant number of Member States to directly call on the European Commission to bring forward an initiative of interest to them in an area of EU competence.
From 11 November 2009 to 31 January 2010, a public consultation procedure was launched by the Commission’s Green Paper which allowed civil society organisations to express their views on the way the citizens’ initiative should work.
AEDH welcomed this public consultation procedure and used the opportunity to express its own point of view on the issue. AEDH made two preliminary observations:
1. The citizens’ initiative should not be seen as an isolated procedure from other instruments of participatory democracy and, in particular, those mentioned in Article 11. It does not introduce a kind of direct democracy. We share the idea that the citizens’ initiative does not automatically translate into a draft directive and regulation, but it is up to European instruments to give a written and reasoned response to the initiative.
2. The citizens’ initiative must conform to the values outlined in the Treaty concerning the respect of fundamental rights, especially the values described in the preamble and the first articles of the Treaty, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the European Convention of Human Rights. The AEDH’s response to the public consultation is available only in French in our website. Following this public consultation, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on the citizens’ initiative on 31 March 2010.
In this proposal, some points do not conform to the AEDH position.
AEDH welcomes the following points of the proposal:
However, AEDH has reservations about the information and personal data required from the signatories, and particularly regarding the need to provide a national identification number, which in fact would be used beyond its purpose (Annex III).
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