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A New Right for Democracy and Development in Europe

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI)

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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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Introduction

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Antonio Padoa SCHIOPPA

Five years into the financial and economic crisis that spread from the United States to Europe has brought to the surface the underlying problems in the monetary union. It was very clear from the outset to at least some of the founding fathers of the single currency that the Euro might face difficulties without the counterweight of a central power for governing the economy. But in 1992 it was not possible to overcome particularly France’s reluctance to take that further step, giving the Union a fiscal power and a governing power at the same supranational level as the European currency.

Now, owing to the recession, this necessity has come to the fore through the inexorable force of facts. The measures taken over the last three years by the governments of the Union, guided by the German government, has brought about a drastic revising of the permissive criteria that had allowed many countries to let their public debt grow, thereby laying open the weaker links in the chain to market speculation in the absence of a common guarantee against default. And yet, despite adopting measures severely limiting the sovereignty of nations over their budgets, the crisis has not passed. Applying stringent austerity measures without accompanying anti-cyclical policies to support the economy and development has led to a recessionary spiral from which no exit can be seen.

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