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Citizens’ initiative

In order to increase citizens’ involvement in the democratic life of the European Union (EU), Article 11 of the Treaty on European Union establishes a citizens’ initiative right. Article 24 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union outlines the general principles for an EU regulation setting down the practical conditions and procedures of the European citizens’ initiative (ECI).

The ECI allows citizens to ask the European Commission to propose legislation in any field in which the Commission has the power to act.

The practical procedures and conditions for exercising this right of initiative are laid down in Regulation (EU) 2019/788, which became applicable on 1 January 2020 and replaced the first ECI regulation (Regulation EU No 211/2011). Once an initiative has reached 1 million signatures and the minimum thresholds in seven EU Member States, the Commission will decide what action to take, if any. The minimum number of signatories for each Member State is stipulated in the regulation.

To launch an ECI, a group of organisers must be set up, comprising at least seven EU citizens from seven different Member States.