European Citizens' Initiative

After the Press Conference earlier today, I posted my thoughts on Facebook and collected information available from other sources regarding the European Citizens' Initiative.

Draft Regulations adopted. At least 1 million signatures coming from at least one third Member States. Aggressive proportional representation? Silly initiatives and initiatives against "European values" will be ignored (e.g. calling for death penalty to be introduced).

Subsidising of individual initiatives not something the Commission is willing to do, even if the organisers of an initiative do not have a strong financial backing.

Appeals against Commission saying it doesn't have competency can be taken to European Court of Justice or Ombudsman. If Commission refuse to use its right of initiative to take up an ECI meeting signature requirements, it will give clear reasons why and have same rights of appeal.

Lobbyist groups: moment of ECI registration, information required include financial disclosure and details of organisations involved - as well as how data collected will be used, and other political mechanisms - should prevent lobbyists from trying to push Initiatives that are not representative of the views of Citizens.

"Silly initiatives" definition - initiatives calling for something probably through humour such as calling for a fictional character to become President of the EU/EC. Calling for the President to juggle ice cream while standing on his head would probably come under this definition.

Time of legislative process from point of successful ECI's being presented to legal implementation will vary, guideline figure given is 3-4 months for the legal process.

I do wonder whether an ECI saying that Europeans are against the proposed EU-tax they want to slap on petrol to fund the European Commission would be classed as a "silly initiative".

I also notice that not a single question in the press conference came from any UK news organisations - the BBC did not even appear to be present at yet another debate/conference that will effect everyone in the country.

Bringing Europe closer to its citizens (Guardian), an article by Maros Sefcovic. Comments and debate on the article contents and the ECI.

"In each of these Member States, the minimum number of signatures required would be calculated by multiplying the number of Members of the European Parliament from that country by a factor of 750." (European Citizen's Initiative, bringing Europe closer to its citizens)

If that is what was meant by 'aggressive proportional representation' the minimum signature requirements on an Initiative for UK citizens would be 54,000 (same as for France and Italy) and 74,250 for Germany.

Those requirements are less stringent than I expected, but then again they have gone with requiring signatures on an ECI to come from a third of Member States (and signatures from each country have to meet those requirements for that country to be included) despite calls for that requirement to be reduced to a quarter/fifth.

We'll see over the next few months how it will actually work in reality, and the Commission have said they will launch a review European Citizens' Initiatives in 5 years.