Newsletter N°5 - ECI Day Special Edition
Under construction: the ECI
That’s a wrap – as the seventh ECI Day came to a close on April 10th, you could feel the exhaustion in the air of the European Economic and Social Committee from yet another day commemorating a tool that has generated more disappointment than excitement.
In its short six years of life, the ECI has not quite become the tool of EU direct democracy that it had longed to become. Still too few citizens are aware of the tool and use it, and reaching the threshold of one million signatures has proved not to be an easy feat, with only five ECIs reaching the required number so far. What has provoked the most disappointment, however, is the lack of political impact of successful ECIs. Although some progress has been made in this regard, what was apparent at ECI Day was the stark difference between the views of ECI organisers and the views of European Commission on what can be considered triumph-worthy.
But, last summer the ECI began to see a makeover, as promised at last years’ ECI Day by First Vice President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans. Interest around the Commission’s proposed improvements and recent successful ECIs have people buzzing about the ECI once again. Will the new and improved ECI make waves in the world of direct democracy? What’s clear is that the ECI Rescue Team's commitment to strengthening the ECI as a way to bring citizens closer to the EU will only be reinforced. We can only hope that the EU feels this commitment and obligation as well.
European Programme Manager at Democracy International
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