The European Citizens’ Initiative

The Treaty of Lisbon introduces the European Citizens’ Initiative. It provides that “not less than one million citizens who are nationals of a significant number of Member States may take the initiative of inviting the Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.”

It also provides that the procedures and conditions required for such a citizens’ initiative, including the minimum number of Member States from which citizens must come, shall be determined in a Regulation to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council on a proposal from the European Commission (Article 11(4) Treaty on European Union and Article 24 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

The Commission adopted its proposal for a Regulation on the citizens’ initiative on 31 March 2010, after a public consultation carried out from 11 November 2009 to 31 January 2010. Negotiations will take place with the European Parliament and the Council with a view to adopting the Regulation as soon as possible.

This Regulation is an important step forward towards the improvement of the democratic life in the Union and it could be a powerful way of bringing Europe closer to its citizens.

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