Glossary of summaries

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Right of initiative

To enable it to play its role as guardian of the EU treaties and representative of the general interest, the European Commission has been given a right of initiative to propose new laws on the matters contained in the treaties, either because the treaties explicitly provide for it or because the Commission considers it necessary.

The Council and the European Parliament may also ask the Commission to put forward a proposal if they consider it necessary.

Since April 2012, by means of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), EU citizens may call on the Commission to make proposals. For an ECI to be triggered, at least 1 million signatures from at least 7 of the 28 EU countries are required.

In certain cases, initiatives from EU countries remain possible.