About the publication

Dear Reader,

In the two years since the launch of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), the first tool for transnational participatory and digital democracy in world history, we have amassed valuable learning from over 20 pioneering ECI campaigns.

In one year, the ECI’s governing rules will be up for review by the European Parliament and Council. Therefore it is time now to open the debate, raise questions, reflect on observations and share perspectives.

In this spirit, we approached ECI stakeholders and asked them to share their experiences and tell us what they think is needed for an ECI that works for EU citizens. They met in person in a December 2013 workshop in Brussels and contributed articles to the publication “An ECI That Works!”. Practical experience gives their voices strength and credibility. They, better than anyone else, know how often the ECI does not work and to what extent it needs urgent improvement.

Carsten Berg and Janice Thomson, Editors of "An ECI That Works"

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From the Preface

Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration: "The ECI has been a learning process for all of us: the Commission, member states and citizens themselves. Well-run, well-supported initiatives can be successful, but we still have much to do in terms of raising awareness within each member state of the right to launch ECIs and to promote ongoing initiatives to help them successfully meet the threshold for signatures. These are things that we can do regardless of the outcome of the review, and I urge all member states to work alongside the Commission and the European Parliament in doing more to help us create a real ECI that works!" Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament: "Now we need to go further in removing any unnecessary obstacles in the way of those citizens who are keen to get an Initiative off the ground. Who are keen to address the imbalance between corporate lobbying and the priorities of citizens. Who are keen to start a discussion with like-minded friends across borders. We have created great expectations with the Treaty of Lisbon, and it is now upon us all to fulfil them." Dimitris Kourkoulas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union: "The pioneering efforts of the first ECI campaigns presented in this new publication "An ECI That Works!" are instructive. Learning from this diverse collection of campaigners, politicians, representatives of EU institutions and experts provides an excellent basis from which to reflect on this nascent institution."


>>> An ECI That Works. Learning from the first two years of the European Citizens' Initiative. <<<


Table of Contents


Preface - Editors Carsten Berg and Janice Thomson, The ECI Campaign

Preface - Maroš Šefčovič, European Commission Vice President for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration

Preface - Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament

Preface - Dimitris Kourkoulas, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Part I - The First European Citizens’ Initiatives

An Overview of the First Two Years of the European Citizens’ Initiative - Carsten Berg and Paweł Głogowski

Experiences of ECI Campaigns

Water and Sanitation are a Human Right! Water is a Public Good! - Jerry van den Berge

One of Us - Ana del Pino

Stop Vivisection - Adriano Varrica

Fraternité 2020 - Simona Pronckuté

End Ecocide in Europe - Prisca Merz

Unconditional Basic Income (UBI). Exploring a Pathway towards Emancipatory Welfare Conditions in the EU - Stanislas Jourdan

30km/h - Making Streets Liveable! - Heike Aghte

Do not count Education Spending as Part of the Deficit! Education is an Investment! - Panos Papadopoulos

High Quality European Education for All - Ana Gorey

Teach for Youth. Upgrade to ESASMUS 2.0 - Jean-Sébastien Marre

Let me Vote - Susanne Kendler

European Initiative for Media Pluralism - Alessandro Valera

Act4Growth - Madi Sharma

Central Public Online Collection Platform for the European Citizens’ Initiative - Joerg Mitzlaff

One Million Signatures for “A Europe of Solidarity” - Alexis Anagnostakis

My Voice Against Nuclear Power - Daphne Rieder

Part II - Reflections on the ECI

What didn’t happen with the European Citizens’ Initiative…and what did - Janice Thomson

Perspectives from inside EU institutions and national authorities:

Revising the ECI Regulation - MEP Alain Lamassoure

Fulfilling the promise of the ECI, learning from the Right2Water experience - MEP Sandrine Bélier

Citizens’ Initiative: What’s next? - Mário Tenreiro, European Commission

Initiatives for Change - Henri Malosse, President of the European Economic and Social Committee

The ECI and the European Ombudsman - Emily O'Reilly

National Authorities in the ECI Process: First Verification Experiences of the German Signature Verification Office - An Interview by Carsten Berg with Axel Minrath and Ulrich Schmitz

Issues for reform:

Reform ECI Registration and Expand Public Debate: Reconsidering Legal Admissibility - James Organ

Back to the Drawing Board for the ECI Online Collection System – Interview with Xavier Dutoit

Why the ECI needs a Community-Developed Online Collection System - Reinder Rustema

An Infrastructure for People Power That Works - Bruno Kaufmann

Trust young people - Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann

The First Public Hearing on an ECI: Unclear Aims and Confusing Debates - Julian Plottka

Making the ECI Work. A Social Science Perspective - Annette Knaut and Maximilian Conrad

Lessons and Recommendations for an ECI That Works - Carsten Berg & Janice Thomson

Supplemental Text – Tips for ECI Campaigners

Tips for ECI Campaigns

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) has shown great promise for EU-wide issue campaigners. ECIs have helped raise public awareness of important topics like unconditional basic income and environmental destruction. ECIs have also helped support the creation of vibrant new EU-wide networks on issues such as street safety and the European educational model. In addition, ECIs have contributed to shifts in the political dynamic around contentious issues like water privatisation and trade partnerships.

The ECI is not as easy to use or as impactful as it could be. The ECI Campaign is working hard to change this. In the meantime, we offer potential ECI users ideas for how to increase your chances of running a successful ECI campaign. “Tips for ECI Campaigns” brings together practical tips from 16 ECI campaigns on subjects such as setting goals for your ECI, building a transnational campaigning structure, effective signature collection, and more. It is designed to supplement, not replace, existing ECI “how to” guides with the hard-won, real-world experience of seasoned ECI campaigners.

Tips for ECI Campaigns >> DOWNLOAD

ECI Facts

Fact 1

Over 5 million signatures were collected.

Fact 2

100s of events were organized by citizens’ groups across Europe.

Fact 3

1,000s of conversations and debates took place among European citizens.