EIRP Proceedings, Vol 6 (2011)

The European Citizens’ Initiative – Participatory Democracy in the European Union

Mihaela Carausan


A new democratic tool, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), starting with April 2012, will allow one million European Union (EU) citizens to ask the European Commission to propose EU legislation. The ECI could thus create a new space inside the EU policy-making machine for ordinary EU citizens. The purpose of the paper is to analyse the early implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon provisions concerning citizens’ initiative. At the level of the European Union, member states in their fundamental laws set up the democratic initiative of the people. The following Member States have citizens’ initiatives at national level: Austria, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and The Netherlands. These initiatives differ considerably in scope and generally operate according to different procedures. Because at EU level, there is no experience to build upon this, we will analyze the national citizens’ initiative and the problems which occurred in practice. So, the citizens’ initiative must accomplish few conditions which we intend to discover and unveil in a comparative study with the national initiative.


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