What types of initiatives are eligible?

The European Commission examines the initiative and then registers it on its website. It can only reject initiatives if they:

  • Manifestly fall outside the competences of the European Commission to propose legislation;
  • Are manifestly contrary to the EU‘s fundamental democratic values; or
  • Are manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious.

All other initiatives are eligible. If the Commission rejects an initiative, the organisers can appeal to the European Court of Justice.


Citizens’ initiatives that manifestly fall outside the competences of the European Commission to propose legislation, or of the European Union generally, are ineligible. From the Commission’s perspective, this primarily includes

  • initiatives aimed at a Treaty amendment, and
  • initiatives in EU policy areas in which the Commission has no competences.

However, the Commission must allow initiatives for which the Treaty basis is not clear or the legal competence is disputed.

Examples: Which initiatives are eligible?

Examples: Which initiatives are eligible?
  • Environmental protection and consumer protection (with a few exceptions)
  • Minimum income EU policy on world trade Data protection
  • The school system
  • Social security systems
  • A ban on abortion
  • European Security and Defence Policy


The Commission does not accept initiatives which are manifestly contrary to the EU’s fundamental democratic values. This is to ensure that extremists have no opportunity to disseminate their views via the Commission’s website. This bars initiatives which are clearly contrary to respect for human dignity or the other fundamental values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union.

Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union

The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

Examples of ineligible initiatives:

  • An initiative which seeks to deny ‘Islamists’ or ethnic groups the right to legal representation in criminal proceedings EU-wide (this violates the rule-of-law principle and the prohibition of discrimination)
  • An initiative which seeks to ensure that the EU provides no further funding for films addressing the topics of abortion, homosexuality or pre-marital sex (violates freedom of expression).

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.