Celebrating the first anniversary of the European Citizens' Initiative

One year after the implementation of the European Citizens' Initiative, 27 proposals have already been presented raising more than 1.6 million signatures. To celebrate this first anniversary and the European Citizens' Initiative Day 2013 the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) gathered in Brussels on April 9 different stakeholders who analysed the achievements and weaknesses of this tool of democratic participation.

The entry into force of the European Citizens' Initiative platform on April 1st 2012 marked the launch of the first instrument of direct, digital and transnational democratic participation tool in the world. Since that moment, 27 initiatives have already been put forward through the on-line official register of European Citizens' Initiatives and 14 are currently in the process for submission to the Commission.

Some of the European Citizens' Initiatives that have achieved greater success – such as the European citizen's initiative on the right to water "Right2Water" which won a million signatures; have served one year later to take stock of the achievements and difficulties of this procedure. The conference held on the occasion of the European Citizens' Initiative Day addressed some of these aspects, especially those related to the cost, the system of on-line signature collection and the need for better communication and information dissemination. These will some of the elements that will inform the reform of the regulation on the European citizens' initiative foreseen for year 2015.

Conference delegates highlighted that, despite the current situation, the initiative has helped to reinforce the democratic character of the European Union and that enhancing its functioning will strengthen participation and greater cohesion among European citizens. The involvement of citizens, institutions, authorities and organizations will enable a targeted reform of the current regulation that will make the European Citizens' Initiative a tool for an even more effective participation.