European Citizens’ Initiative launched: Great expectations – extensive scepticism
Since 1 April 2012 European citizens own a new right: the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). One million citizens have the right to invite the Commission to draft a proposal for a legal act that, in their point of view, should be managed by the Union. The IEP accompanies the establishment of this new instrument of participative democracy academically as part of the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. Despite the great expectation to contribute enormously to the reduction of the democracy deficit within the Union, the ECI is further accompanied by extensive scepticism from academia and civil society regarding its outcome. Two publications do not only give an overview of the process of the ECI but, moreover, discuss its limits and potentials.
- The European Citizens’ Initiative: Possibilities and Limits of a new Element in the EU Decision-Making System
Rudolf Hrbek, Vice-president of the academic directorate of the IEP, assigns the ECI to former efforts to strengthen the role of European citizens, describes the genesis of the treaty article of the ECI and explains the technique of implementing an initiative in his article in issue 1/2012 of ‘integration’. Due to highly formalised and not at all user-friendly procedural rules and to the fact that established strong organisations rather than citizens will get involved, Hrbek, while discussing potentials and limits of the initiative, concludes that the direct outcome of ECI will rather be limited.
- The European Citizens’ Initiative: Launching a New Period of Participative Democracy on EU-Level
The articles are available here