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A New Right for Democracy and Development in Europe

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)


Edited By Giampiero Bordino

This volume analyses the problems and instruments of European citizens’ political participation and focuses in particular on the «European Citizens’ Initiative» (ECI) right. Introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, the ECI enables European citizens to propose legislative measures to the Commission by collecting one million signatures in at least seven EU countries. The European federalists were the first to initiate one of the most important applications of this instrument with their proposal for a «European Special Plan for Sustainable Development», aimed at addressing the ongoing serious economic and social crisis.
The essays collected in this volume by authors from different disciplines, backgrounds and nationalities offer reflections on citizenship rights and themes relating to the European crisis, as well as on the necessary steps to revive development in Europe. The informative and functional documentation proposed in the Appendix constitutes a user manual for the potential and concrete application of this new right by European citizens and their various associations.
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A European Development Plan to Emerge from the Crisis



1. The Origins of the Crisis

In 2007, the bursting of the housing bubble in the United States led to the most serious crisis that the world economy has faced since the Second World War. The origin of the crisis was financial in nature: US banks granted mortgage loans – the so-called sub-prime mortgages – for private home purchases also to low-income families with the stated aim of promoting access to home ownership for all. In fact, the guarantee for the banks was that the ever growing demand for real estate fostered a continued rise in house prices and the real estate value of homes was the collateral for the repayment of the loan. If the new owners were unable to pay off the mortgage payments, the banks could always repossess the property and put it on the market at a price higher than that of the purchase price and hence the amount of the mortgage.

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