the global coalition for democracy

Save the European Citizens' Initiative

The EU institutions are currently discussing whether the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) needs improvements. Democracy International is convinced that Europe needs more citizen participation and direct democracy, and that without reform the ECI tool will lose all credibility and vigour. We want the ECI to be more accessible, simpler to use and to have real political impact.

Our first major success in our campaign has been to convince the European Parliament to stand up for more democracy. On 28 October it voted for a comprehensive improvement of the ECI. 

The next campaign phase will target the Commission and the Council. The Commission has the power to decide whether to reform the ECI or not, and it has no obligation to respond to initiatives from the Parliament. In fact, the Commission often pays greater attention to requests from the Council than the Parliament.

Democracy International will not give up to advocate and campaign for a better ECI and a stronger EU democracy. Thank you for supporting the campaign to strengthen our voices in Europe!


By Gobierno de Chile [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  By EvDa13 [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons


Thomas Piketty

Economist; Author of the best-selling book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century".

"The EU is a dysfunctional power machine and its democratic foundations are in crisis. It is imperative that we foster collective deliberation - including the citizens - on the future of Europe, if we are to restore trust and build a new democratic architecture for Europe. I support Democracy International’s call to reform the European Citizens’ Initiative. The ECI must become a serious initiative right for Europe’s citizens."


Gesine Schwan

President of the European University Viadrina, Germany

"The EU is in a deep crisis, which we can only overcome if we build a strong, thriving civil society in Europe. The European Citizens’ Initiative could help us move from a Europe run by technocrats and executives to a Europe of the people, in which Europe’s citizens can set the agenda. I therefore support the petition of Democracy International: “Save the ECI”."


The problem

The solution

The way

The European Citizens’ Initiative could give people a real voice in the EU. By mobilising one million citizens from at least seven EU member states, citizens can directly ask the EU Commission to write new legislation.
But in practice this law is very difficult to use and almost powerless. Very few people know of its existence, hurdles are extremely high, and then the EU does not even react.
Right now EU Commission must agree to revise the ECI law, but it seems to be blocking any significant reform. If no meaningful improvements are made, the EU will be killing this citizens’ right at the expense of democracy and the public. 
We are building an alliance of citizens and civil society organisations to save the ECI. We believe that the Citizens’ Initiative is a vital tool to give people a real say in EU policy-making, and that right now we need to stand up to defend this democratic right.
The ECI must be made more accessible to European citizens; the process must become more dynamic, inclusive and efficient; and the initiatives must have a powerful impact on EU politics.
We need to build pressure to save the ECI immediately.
With a petition targeting the EU Parliament, citizens built pressure for a powerful ECI. Together with our partners Mehr Demokratie Germany and WeMove, we delivered 76,937 signatures to the MEPs (watch delivery). We also mass emailed them with 70,532 emails (see email drive).
After tireless campaigning, on 28 October the EU Parliament voted for a refom of the ECI to make it simpler to use and more powerful (read report).
Next, we must convince the EU Commission that an improvement of the ECI is non-negotiable. We will campaign and pressure the Commission to stand up for the citizens' participation right and for greater democracy in Europe. 

Media partners:



Website Info

Democracy International is a registered association in Germany
(eingetragener Verein e.V.).

Gürzenichstraße 21 a-c
50667 Cologne
Phone: +49 (0) 221 669 66 50
Fax: +49 (0) 221 669 665 99

Amtsgericht Köln
VR-Nr. 17139

Full website information here

Data protection - Datenschutz


Democracy International e.V.
IBAN: DE 58370205000001515101

Bank für Sozialwirtschaft
Konto: 1515101
BLZ: 37020500


Sign up

to our news, analyses and features on direct democracy worldwide!


Follow us