A briefing by Tamara Guirao, CAAC coordinator
Building on the participatory traditions of Member States, the European citizens’ initiative (ECI) allows one million EU citizens to participate directly in the development of EU policies, by calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal. A step further to achieve full EU citizenship, this instrument has been running for almost a year, with Fraternité 2020 being the 1st acknowledged ECI.
The implementation of the ECI was preceded by an EU consultation at the end of 2009. Atlantic Cities are keenly involved on participation matters, so CAAC decided to present a contribution to the consultation in two parts, the first answering to the consultation itself and the second demonstrating how the local level, especially in the Atlantic Arc, was already implementing citizen’s initiatives in their daily policies.
In the contribution, the Atlantic Cities highlighted the need to build upon results and assessments of actions to heighten citizens’ awareness and participation previously implemented, such as the D Plan or programmes like Prince or Europe for Citizens. It should also be recalled that the election of the European Parliament by universal suffrage was a milestone in the development of European citizenship. Moreover, petitions to the European Parliament set a precedent for the ECI.
The contribution also describes how Atlantic Cities have been developing different structures of proximity and participative democracy that may serve as a basis for a dynamic implementation of an ECI, which, moreover, will encourage success. For instance:
- The rules for Participation of Avilés City Council
- The Observatory for Participatory Democracy in Donostia- San Sebastián
- Citizens’ Councils and e-administration all over the Atlantic Arc
- The participatory Budget in Lisbon
For more information, please read CAAC contribution HERE, a document that has also been used as learning material on Youth simulations of EU work.