What is the European Citizens’ Initiative?

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is the world’s first transnational instrument of participatory democracy. As of April 2012, it gives citizens of the European Union the opportunity to get involved directly in EU politics.

If at least one million signatures are collected in support of an ECI, the European Commission must examine the issue presented in the initiative and may draft a legislative proposal on it. This means that citizens have the chance to play an active part in shaping the EU‘s political agenda for the first time ever. Although citizens have no direct decision-making powers at present, they can directly alert decision-makers in Brussels to their problems and oblige the European Commission to deal with their requests properly.

The Treaty of Lisbon has now set out the legal basis for the ECI in Article 11.

Article 11, paragraph 4 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU)

Not less than one million citizens who are nationals of a significant number of Member States may take the initiative of inviting the European Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.

The European Parliament and the Council have set out the specific rules and procedures for launching an ECI in a regulation. The following pages provide a basic introduction to the European Citizens’ Initiative.


Launch of the Greens/EFA website on the European Citizens' Initiative

Today we start our website on the ECI. The website informs you on what the ECI is and how it works. And it gives you an opportunity to discuss your ideas on an initiative in our ECI Community Forum.

Greens/EFA conference: The European Citizens' Initiative - How to get it started

With the European Citizens Initiative set to enter into force in 2012, the conference will look at what measures are needed to ensure the ECI can start to work. Several NGOs will also present their ideas and projects for an initiative, among them are projects for a nuclear-free Europe, for more effective exchange programmes in the EU, for media pluralism, and for fair roaming. 

ECI workshop at the Green Summer University

The Green European Foundation (GEF) and the Polish Zielony Instytut organise a workshop on the European Citizens' Initiative at the Greens/EFA European Summer University, on Saturday, September 10th 2011.

Two days on the European Citizens' Initiative

The European Citizen's Initiative (ECI) is waiting in the wings and the countdown is on for more civic participation in Europe. The Greens/EFA-Group and its expert on direct democracy, Gerald Häfner (Germany), took this as an opportunity to dedicate 2 days of talks to this important topic.