We are very excited to let you know that we submitted our European citizens’ initiative (ECI) to the Commission, the first to be submitted under the new ECI Regulation which came into force on 1 January.
Called “Voters Without Borders” our ECI demands full political rights for EU citizens on the move. Existing rights for EU citizens to vote and stand in municipal and European elections in their country of residence are extremely weak and discourage people to have a say in the decision-making process that will impact their daily life.
The ECI demands the reform of existing legislation and the extension of political rights to regional, national - elections and referenda respecting the choice of being able to vote either in one’s country of residence or country of origin.The ECI asserts the principles of Universal Suffrage, “one person, one vote” and “No taxation without representation”. In our background document, that you can find both on ECIT website and on voterswithoutborders website - four arguments are put forward for this ECI: -strengthen EU citizenship, -take a step forward towards Universal Suffrage, -encourage integration in the host country and -the emergence of a transnational European democracy. There is no legal possibility to demand that the franchise should also be extended to third-country nationals’ resident in the EU, but the ECI is clearly a step in that direction.
There are 3 things you can do to support the task force and the ECI.
i) Make a contribution, however small, towards the cost of the preparatory phase whilst the Commission is considering whether to register the ECI and allow signature collection to go ahead. We estimate that this should be in June. We have estimated the budget for this preparatory phase at 20,000 euros with the preparation of a Website to test-drive the ECI and other communication tools to build up momentum before it is open for signature as the main items. To make your contribution please use the Paypal account on the voterswithoutborders.eu website.
ii) Give us stories about voting or standing for election across borders and any campaigns for voting rights, which can help build our website. Together with The Good Lobby and research by the students we are also collecting together complaints so any leads and evidence of what is not working will be really welcome. Any other links can be useful: evidence from research, opinion polls, positions of political parties, legislative developments.
ii) Recommend us contacts:
We would be grateful if you could recommend us people in your circle who might be particularly interested to become involved, organisations which might want to become partners and help promote the ECI in their country, sources of funding and pro-bono support.
“VOTERS WITHOUT BORDERS”
This proposal is based on work already done by the ECIT foundation and the recommendations from the annual Summer University on European Citizenship. The title “Voters Without Borders!” is based on the paradox of the Maastricht Treaty which created EU citizenship 28 years ago. Political rights were attached to freedom of movement. The Treaty was a step forward introducing the right of European citizens to vote and stand as candidates in local and European elections in their country of residence. These existing rights are extremely weak and discourage people to have a say in the decision-making process. Moreover, the reform did not include regional elections or the ones which really count-the national ones-or referenda.
The aim of this European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is to create full political rights for European citizens.
An ECI is the right instrument to raise such a constitutional issue as the need for universal suffrage on the European continent. This agenda-setting right was added to the catalogue of European citizenship rights by the Lisbon Treaty and enforced by regulation (EU) 2019/788 -a new instrument designed to make it easier to use this right. An initiative is registered provided it is in the legal competence of the Commission and reaches the threshold set in at least 7 member states and over 1 million signatures within one year. The Commission is not obliged to act on a successful ECI but has to take the proposal seriously and is under a moral and political obligation to do so. The real question is whether this ECI can succeed in gathering over 1 million signatures.
At the bottom of this page you can download our latest background document which is organised as followed:
Part one presents the ECI, and the reasons why this this demand for full political rights for people on the move should be launched
Part two explains what needs to be done in terms of research and strategy.
The “Voters Without Borders” initiative comes at the right time : it is a coherent follow-up to the European elections and the appointment of a new Commission giving priority to an action plan for democracy and a Conference on the Future of Europe.
A task force of young people has been recruited and trained to conceive, create and campaign for the ECI, which will be launched in June and the results of the complementary research will be presented at the ECIT annual Summer University in September 2020.