The ECAS Knowledge Centre is an online collection of resources on two broad themes: EU Rights and Civic Engagement in Europe. It aims to help civil society campaigners, researchers, analysts, academics, advisors, policy makers and interested citizens navigate the large amount of information available in a user-friendly manner. It offers easy access to research, case studies, evaluations, papers, issue briefs, toolkits and more on the following topics:

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European Citizens' Initiative (ECI)

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The European Citizens' Initiative Registration: Falling at the First Hurdle?

December 1, 2014

This study has been conducted by ECAS within the framework of the ECI Support Centre with the kind assistance of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. The study aims to promote a better understanding of the ECI Regulation, particularly on the registration procedures for a proposed initiative, and it suggests a number of recommendations to be discussed when the review of the Regulation takes place based on an analysis of the "subject matters" of the ECIs that have been refused registration by the Commission.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

Frans Timmermans: Better Regulation also for ECIs?

October 9, 2014

The two-week cycle of Commission nominee hearings closed on the 7th October with the hearing of Vice-President of the Commission Frans Timmermans. If confirmed, First Vice-President-designate Frans Timmermans will be in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, meaning that he will have authority over the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) process. He will thus have responsibility over the management of the first transnational instrument of participatory democracy worldwide. This instrument is particularly relevant to political discussion at this time, as the European Commission is due to release a report on the implementation of the ECI in April, May 2015, three years after the entry into force of the Reg. 211/2011.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

European Citizens' Initiative - First Lessons of Implementation

May 1, 2014

Upon request of the AFCO and PETI Committees, this study identifies difficulties faced by organisers when setting up and running a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI). It analyses possible solutions and proposes recommendations to improve the ECI as an effective tool for participatory democracy in the EU. The aim is to propose measures to ensure a straightforward ECI process with less costs and burdens for EU citizens. The ultimate goal is to define concrete actions to empower EU citizens to actively participate in shaping the future of Europe.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

European Citizens' Initiative infographic

January 30, 2014

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) infographic gives an overview of the different ECIs presented, their field of interest and the country of origin.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

10 Recommendations to Make a Success of European Citizens' Initiatives

March 20, 2013

The European Citizen Action Service calls for 10 points of reform of the Reg. 211/2011

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

Report on the application of Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 on the citizens' initiative 2018

March 20, 2018

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is an instrument that allows one million citizens to invite the European Commission to submit a proposal for a legal act of the Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties. It is a tool for agenda-setting and participation in the democratic life of the Union. The rules governing the European Citizens' Initiative are based on the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and are implemented through the Regulation on the Citizens' Initiative, which has been in application since 1 April 2012. Since then, organisers of initiatives have gathered an estimated 9 million statements of support from citizens across the European Union. Article 22 of the ECI Regulation foresees that every three years, the Commission shall present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on the application of this regulation

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

European Citizens’ Initiative - EU Fact Sheets

February 28, 2018

The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is an important instrument of participatory democracy in the European Union, allowing one million EU citizens residing in at least one quarter of the Member States to invite the Commission to submit a proposal for a legal act to implement the EU Treaties. Since the application of Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 establishing detailed procedures and conditions for the ECI, four initiatives have been successfully submitted to the Commission.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

European Citizens’ Initiatives, Greek Debt and Court of Justice: The Final Chapter

February 2, 2018

For the first time the Court of Justice – in its Grand Chamber composition – has ruled upon the registration phase of a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) and, consequently, on the framework of the Commission's powers in this respect. The ECI entitled "One Million Signatures for a Europe of Solidarity" – aimed at introducing in the EU economic and monetary policy the principle of the state of necessity in order to allow a State not to repay its debt – has been the object of the Anagnostakis I (General Court, judgment of 30 September 2015, case T-450/12, Alexios Anagnostakis v. Commission) and Anagnostakis II (Court of Justice, judgment of 12 September 2017, case C-589/15 P, Alexios Anagnostakis v. Commission [GC]) cases. Against this background, this Insight will be structured as follows. Firstly, it will offer an overview of both cases analysing, in turn, the objectives of the ECI at stake as well as the judgment of the General Court (Anagnostakis I). Secondly, it will delve into the opinion of AG Mengozzi and the judgment of the Court of Justice (Anagnostakis II) which upheld the decision of the General Court. Thirdly, and in conclusion, it will link the Court of Justice judgment to the current debate on ECIs' developments and the recast of Regulation 211/2011 arguing that, despite some setbacks, ECIs might now be ready to deploy their full potentials, namely, empowering citizens to influence the Commission's legislative agenda. 

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

More Initiative for Europe’s Citizens

February 1, 2018

The European citizens' initiative (ECI) is faring like a lot of up-and-coming talents. It has great potential, but it cannot take full advantage of it yet. This sentiment is often expressed, and there are several reasons for the situation. In the Treaty of Lisbon, it was stipulated that 1 million European citizens can place an issue on the agenda in Brussels. Whoever collects this many signatures can call on the European Commission to take action. But six years after the introduction of the ECI, it can hardly be called a success story. Registering an initiative is too difficult, collecting signatures too demanding. 

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

EU Renews Glyphosate for Five Years

January 23, 2018

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/2324 renews the approval of the active substance glyphosate for five years. The renewal became valid on December 16, 2017. This came after the EU Commission's Appeal Committee decided in favor of renewing the license for glyphosate on November 27, 2017, which was different from the position of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) in an earlier vote. This report will explain the different positions of the most influential Member States, as well as the status of the European Citizen's initiative (ECI) on Glyphosate.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

Publicness in Transnational Demo(i)cracy: The European Citizens’ Initiative and the Interplay between the Subnational, National and Transnational

December 31, 2017

In the absence of a commonly accepted theory of transnational democracy, evaluations of the EU's democratic performance as a transnational non-state polity remain problematic. This observation is highlighted not least by the introduction of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) in the Lisbon Treaty. The ECI has been characterized as the world's first transnational citizens' initiative, even though in participatory terms, it is little more than a mere petition. From a deliberative perspective, on the other hand, the ECI's main potential lies in its ability to foster transnational contestation and deliberation, as the cases of the formal Right2Water and the informal Stop TTIP initiatives have demonstrated. Such initiatives do however illustrate the problems that traditional state-centered theories of publics, publicness and the public sphere have in dealing with processes that by their very nature transcend, but by no means replace existing spatial, cultural and linguistic boundaries across the EU. Because of the ECI's organizational requirements, the success of an initiative requires the interaction of publics as well as an interplay of mobilization and contestation processes at the local, regional, national and transnational levels. The proposed paper reflects on these requirements both as a challenge and as an opportunity for (a) the continued democratization of the EU and (b) the further development of a theory of transnational democracy, in particular with a view to conceptualizing the role and very definition of the publics, publicness and indeed the public sphere within transnational democracy. Particular emphasis within this analysis is placed on the role of digital media as a facilitator in the development of publics that are by definition neither exclusively subnational, national or transnational, but transcend and elude such categorizations. Empirical illustrations are drawn from the formal Right2Water and the informal Stop TTIP campaigns.

Civic Engagement: European Citizens' Initiatives

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