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‘Democracy starts with awareness’

Maria Celeste Petrini


As stated by Article Two of the European Union Treaty, democracy lies within the founding values of the EU.

Therefore, it shall be a constitutional bound, so intense to connect every single action of each European institution. European institutions’ juridical acts should be permeated by the sense of encouraging the inclusion of people in the ruling system and in the political agenda of the EU.

“Democracy is of the people, for the people and by the people,” enunciated Lincoln, stressing the importance of single citizens in the building of a full democratic dimension.

 So it does Art.11, paragraph four of the treaty:  it gives one million citizens the power to invite the European Commission to submit a proposal on matters where they consider action of the EU is required. Through this extraordinary transnational means of participatory democracy, every single inhabitant of the EU has the concrete chance to collaborate with the institutions.

Establishing the European citizens’ initiative (ECI), the EU put at the centre of its political action the will to join the people of EU and create a unique demos capable of discussing and exchanging ideas. Nevertheless, since 2012 only three ECIs, among the 50 presented, concluded their course and reached the institutions.

This mediocre result may only be improved by the public engagement of all the citizens to spread the word and make their voice be heard. Democracy starts with awareness.

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