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European Citizens’ Initiative EU discuss next steps for direct democracy

Currently, signatures are being gathered for four ECIs featuring both environmental and social issues

(Keystone)

How far has European direct democracy come since the European Union launched the European Citizens’ Initiativeexternal link (ECI) as a political instrument for change? Wednesday sees a forum on the issue.

The European Citizens’ Initiative became operative in April 2012, and allows people from European Union countries to launch initiatives.

More than 50 such initiatives have been filed since 2012. Three initiatives have also managed to gather more than the required one million signatures: Right to Waterexternal link, Stop Vivisectionexternal link, and One of Usexternal link. Currently, signatures are being gathered for four ECIsexternal link featuring both environmental and social issues. But despite a total of more than six million signatures having been gathered from around the 28 member states, the process as such has been criticised by organisers and users as too complicated.

”Involving the citizens is key in difficult times and the ECI offers a historic opportunity to make the Europeans joint policy-makers,” says Michael Smyth, vice-president of the European Economic and Social Committee, the EU institution hosting the 2016 ECI Day on Wednesday.

The 2016 ECI Dayexternal link is being held to share information, learn about current developments and discuss reform proposals with all stakeholders of the new process, including representatives from the EU Commission and the Council.

You can follow the Live Broadcastexternal link of the ECI Day and participate in the conversation by using the Twitter hashtag #ECIDay.  

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