Asking the European Commission to make proposals for a full-scale, inclusive European citizenship


Here is an idea – just an idea at this stage, because we all know how difficult it is to collect 1 million signatures for an ECI, especially since the Commission appears reluctant to simplify the regime for initiatives it seems to regard as euro-sceptical. At least a year of preparation will be necessary to gather the necessary funds and support, if we decide to go ahead.

Why an ECI on European citizenship?

In terms of Article 11 of the Treaty of Lisbon and the regulation putting it into effect, over 1 million citizens from at least 7 Member States of EU 28 can sign an initiative asking the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. As made clear by the paper on ECIs by Peter Téglás published on the ECIT website, this is not an easy instrument to use with all but three out of over 40 initiatives either being refused or failing to collect the necessary signatures. Moreover, even if successful, an ECI is an agenda-setting instrument which cannot force the Commission to act. Would the Commission really though turn down an initiative on European citizenship?

This first-ever instrument for transnational deliberative as opposed to direct democracy is well suited to broad cross-cutting issues such as European citizenship, where the objective is not an immediate short-term and specific result, so much as a more long-term fundamental change. ECIs should foster grassroots networking and discussion across Europe. In the case of Union citizenship, this is important because so far, since its inclusion in the Maastricht Treaty a generation ago, there has been no Europe-wide debate on what it is and means. European citizenship has been a top-down affair. An ECI could change that perspective radically.

Find out more about our ECI proposal (PDF, 143 KB)