(7 September 2016) Based on the experience of EPSU and the supporters of the Right2Water European Citizens’ Initiative, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted a position. We noted that even if a ECI is successful the Commission can almost ignore it. And this despite a positive and supportive report of the European Parliament. The report also takes account of the problems we encounter organising the ECI.
In its opinion, the EESC recommends:
- “to simplify the existing rules, adapting to the actual possibilities of the citizens (the choice of the launching date, lowering the minimum age, recognising the citizens' committees legally, and providing the platform for the online collection system on permanent basis) and to clarify the existing registration procedure;
- simplifying, reducing and harmonising the system of national standards laid down for the collection of data;
- guaranteeing an appropriate follow-up for successful initiatives and by communicating with ECI organisers on the legislative changes and political decisions that respond to their ECI (even if partially);
- separating the roles of the European Commission as institutional mentor and judge. The EESC would be a natural candidate for the role of facilitator and institutional mentor;
- to raise awareness of the ECI mechanism and ensure a serious information campaign;
- to set up an institutional forum on the participation of European citizens, to become a permanent platform for discussion and debate at the Committee along the lines of the European Migration Forum, building on European Citizens' Initiative Day.”