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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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In The essays collected in this volume reveal a new institution of European law which, if used well, could acquire in the coming years a significant value for the purposes of resuming that process of “constitutionalisation” of the European Union that the referendums in France and the Netherlands interrupted in 2005 and which the Lisbon Treaty of 2007 tried – albeit in a more subtle form – to re-launch.

The institution in question is linked to the new wording of Article 11 of the EU Treaty which has attributed to citizens “numbering not less than one million, who are nationals of a significant number of Member States” (now established in the regulation as seven countries) to take “the initiative of inviting the European Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties”. This is an institution that, as seems evident, owing both to its subjective qualification and to the recipients, aims to effectively supersede that right to petition the European Parliament already allowed to citizens of the Union and to all natural and legal persons having residence or their head office in one of the Member States, a right currently recognised also by Article 44 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. And this leads to recognising that, under the new Treaty, the “European citizens’ initiative” (ECI)...

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