Brussels – 13 June 2018 – The European Humanist Federation (EHF) expresses its concerns over the on-going discussions within the AFCO committee about the revision of the European Citizens’ Initiative.
Certain political groups in the Committee are committed to clearly and unequivocally define the scope of the ECI based on a broad interpretation of the Treaties, including amendments to and the repealing of existing EU legislation. Others even propose extending the interpretation to include Treaty changes. However, the committee has not reached consensus over these proposals.
The uncertainty and narrow interpretation of the ECI’s scope has been part of the reasons why certain ECIs have been refused registration and others saw no follow-up, despite reaching the threshold of 1.000.000 signatures. It is therefore fundamental that the ECI’s scope is clearly defined in the regulation and that this definition is based on a broad interpretation of the treaties.
The commission’s original proposal itself identifies the ECI “as a tool to foster debate and participation at European level, including of young people, and bring the EU closer to its citizens.” Making sure that the scope of the ECI is not interpreted in a narrow way clearly contributes to the aforementioned objective
, said Giulio Ercolessi, President of the European Humanist Federation.
In light of these considerations, the European Humanist Federation urges the AFCO committee to ensure that no legal uncertainty remains over the scope of the ECI. Citizens should be able to propose ECIs covering new legislation but also repealing and amending of existing legislation, as well as proposing amendments to the Treaties.
Besides this important element, the EHF welcomes the revision of the ECI, in particular:
- the possibility for organisers to choose the starting date for the collection of the statements of support,
- the setting up of an online collaborative platform and central online collection system,
- the possibility to collect e-mails from signatories, which ultimately makes the ECI a community building instrument as well.