113,309 of 150,000 signatures

To Members of the European Parliament

Petition

We urge Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to vote against the provisional political agreement for a new regulation on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), and open new negotiations that strengthen the ECI as a democratic tool. This ECI reform would severely damage EU citizens’ opportunities to participate in European democracy. The ECI is the only tool that can bring EU citizens together to have a direct and formal say in EU policy processes.

The proposed changes will limit the chances of new successful ECIs emerging due to significant barriers such as the discontinuation of individual online collection systems (iOCS). The EU institutions have the collective responsibility to take the ECI forward, not backward, and we count on MEPs to stand up for their citizens’ rights.

Why is this important?

On 12 March, the European Parliament could make it harder for citizens like you and me to participate in the only direct democracy tool the EU has: the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). [1] MEPs will soon vote to change the ECI, and could vote to ban the only software that has resulted in a successful ECI for five years! [2]

The ECI is the only tool that brings together EU citizens to have a direct and formal say in EU decision-making. But it is not easy to use it, and only four ECIs have been successful since 2012, when the tool was established. And now if the EU has its way, the chances of new successful ECIs emerging will be even more limited. MEPs think that they can pass these destructive reforms right before the European elections, without us noticing.

In 2017 our community organised a successful ECI to ban glyphosate. To make it possible, we adapted our own signature collection software, which has been certified by EU governments in full compliance with the law. [3] Now the EU wants to change the law, and ban this kind of signature collection software!

A group of dedicated programmers developed this software in 2015, precisely because of the shortcomings of the EU’s own software. The EU wants to ban it simply because the decision makers negotiating the reform overlooked its success. [4] Now, rather than trying to the fix the problem, the EU is trying to rush through this reform before the next elections. This is our last chance to stop these destructive reforms. [5]

As if banning our software wasn’t bad enough, the changes would also mean that ECI organisers cannot contact the signatories after the ECI process is finished. This would prevent organisers from building European communities of action like ours, which has been so successful in bringing citizens’ voices directly to EU decision makers. [6] Rather than fixing current problems with the ECI, the EU is ready to create a whole new set of barriers for people to engage.



Image by Diliff [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


References:

  1. https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?lang=&reference=2017/0220(COD)
  2. See here for reasons why our own signature collection software is so important for a successful ECI: http://www.citizens-initiative.eu/10-reasons-to-preserve-eci-organisers-right-and-freedom-to-use-individual-online-collection-systems/
  3. For the Stop Glyphosate ECI, we used the “openECI” online collection system, and integrated it with our own normal petition software http://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/initiatives/successful/details/2017/000002
  4. The Commission’s original proposal said that the use of online collection systems like ours should continue, and the European Parliament supported that proposal. However, during trilogue negotiations, the working staff document accompanying the draft regulation proposal contained incomplete information. It indicated that no ECIs used this software in the years 2014 and 2015, which resulted in the Council recommending to discontinue their use. However, our software was launched in late 2015, and many other ECI organisers have used it in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
  5. http://www.citizens-initiative.eu/eu-deal-creates-a-highly-uncertain-future-for-eci/
  6. https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/news/european-citizens%E2%80%99-initiatives-become-more-accessible-after-deal-reached

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SCHIRDEWAN, Kay SWINBURNE, Christophe HANSEN, Maria HEUBUCH, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz and Soledad Cabezón Ruiz

On Tuesday, MEPs will have a final vote on the reform to the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). This is our last chance to stop these destructive reforms. If we can show MEPs that citizens want to keep a simple path for participation, we might be able to prevent this backward reform!

We need you to send a Tweet now to your MEPs to convince them to vote against the destructive reforms. Will you help amplify this call?

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