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A New Right for Democracy and Development in Europe

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)


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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Desirable Effects of a European Plan for Sustainable Development





The once-in-a-lifetime crisis that hit the West in the last years has contributed to highlight the structural dilemmas on which the European institutional construction is founded; only because of the legitimacy gap between a continental economic constituency and a national political constituency, to use the terms introduced by Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa2, could a crisis of US private debts turn into a crisis of public debts in the Old Continent. The solutions to the crisis proposed by the European leaders, divided over conflicting incentives and well-aware victims of shortsightedness, are to this day a precise representation of the forces acting on the European scene: the fear of moral hazard by part of the virtuous countries, the difficulty to implement reforms in the countries with “sinful” performances, the prominence of domestic over European policy matters, the weakness of politics in the face of the financial system and ratings agencies, the inability to react to the collapse of people’s confidence in the cleverness of their politicians, the ever greater seriousness of global challenges, starting from immigration, and a radical transformation of the production system – and consequently of the education/employment systems – to make it able to cope with the competitive pressures coming from efficient global production networks and global value chains scattered worldwide. The dictatorship of bond-spreads is threatening the functioning of the real economy, but hints at the presence of problems not at all virtual, first of all the dangerous and increasing gap, in...

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