EU starts taking citizen law initiatives in at the 1st of April

by Aleksi Vihunen & Ville Matilainen (group 3)

Waited since the Lisboan treaty ratified in 2009, the European Union takes one step closer to the model of straight democracy announcing the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) active at the April Fool’s Day. The ECI allows the citizens of European Unions have an effect on legislative proposals formerly made strictly by the European Commission. 

Euronews

Citizens must collect at least one million signatures behind the proposal they are willing to push forward. The signatures must be collected from at least seven different EU countries, and must be signed by people who are entitled to vote in the European Parliament elections. The proposals left, must be from the area that the Commission has power to effect in legislation.

If the Commission confirms registration of the proposal, the organizers have one year to collect the needed signatures. After receiving signed proposal the Commission is forced to take it under its consideration. The procedure must be completed in three months after receiving it.

Reasons behind the ECI were to bring European Union closer to full democracy, and also bringing the legislation closer to its citizens. Although, over two years of preparation has the public opinion against the ECI bumped in some issues.

Biggest issue was, and in fact still is, the proposal collected by the Greenpeace against GMO food in Europe. The anti GMO proposal was left right after the ECI was approved by all the member states, but was soon founded out that whole proposal drowned in bureaucracy of the Commission.

The problem was that there weren’t any procedure made behind the ECI, only the agreement of setting it. The farce gave the impression of not so open, but yet even more irresolute, Commission in the eyes of weavers.  The anti GMO proposal is taken under Commissions consulting again in the 1st of April.

Sampo Terho, a Finnish member of the European parliament (The Finns) annotated that the whole thing is mainly a good theory but unfortunately only an theory. Terho also suspected that the ECI is only a trick to lure the public opinion for more pro-EU way.

The proposals can be left through the ECIs homepage startin the 1st of April, and the European Ombudsman has informed that his bureau is to aid in any case needed.

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