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Save the ECI before it dies

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Save the ECI before it dies

05-03-2015

On 3rd March 2015 the European Commission officially received 1.173.130 validated signatures of the European Citizens' Initiative “Stop Vivisection”. The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) that aims at phasing out animal experiments is the third citizens’ law proposal submitted to the European Commission since the ECI became legally effective on 1st April 2012.

The low rate of success – overall 51 ECIs had been launched – reflects the many flaws of the European Citizens’ Initiative in practice. In view of the upcoming review by the European Commission by April 2015, Democracy International calls for a reform of the ECI to keep alive the first transnational instrument of direct democracy.

“The European Commission doesn’t seem to take the ECI seriously. Very few Europeans even know of the ECI’s existence. The process poses excessive burdens for campaigners, and once an ECI has successfully passed all hurdles, the Commission is not even obliged to act. The fact that only three out of 51 ECIs met the thresholds clearly shows that we need to improve the rules” states Sophie von Hatzfeldt, who is campaigning for the ECI reform on behalf of Democracy International.

Within the next three months, the Commission will invite the organisers of the ECI “Stop Vivisection” to Brussels to explain their ideas in more depth. A public hearing is to take place in the European Parliament. Then the European Commission has the leeway to decide whether to adopt new legislation, to propose another way to achieve the goals of the ECI, or not to act at all. The European Commission must explain its reasoning through a written Communication adopted by the College of EU Commissioners.

“Successful ECIs deserve a stronger follow-up by the Commission. The ECI proposals should be properly examined in inter-service consultations involving all concerned departments in the Commission. Then the decision by the College should be met through an oral procedure. Only this will guarantee a thorough and transparent debate. Also the European Parliament must take the debate further and vote on successful ECIs in full plenum” concludes Sophie von Hatzfeldt.  

Democracy International’s proposals for the ECI reform can be accessed here: www.democracy-international.org/european-citizens-initiative-reform

 

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