On the Unfulfilled Democratisation Potential of the European Citizens’ Initiative
19 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 1, 2018
The paper demonstrates that, unfortunately, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), which was introduced by the Lisbon Treaty and by the EU Regulation on the citizens’ initiative, has not yet lived up to its democratisation potential. The ECI has had a disappointingly limited impact as a democratisation instrument and has failed to meaningfully enhance the participation of EU citizens in the EU’s political debate and decision-making. Following a survey of critical evaluations of the functioning of the ECI up to now, the paper looks at the recently proposed revision of the ECI Regulation. The proposed revision unfortunately limits itself to measures making the ECI more user-friendly and less burdensome for ECI organisers and signatories. It will be argued that measures of this nature cannot on their own transform the ECI into an effective EU agenda-setting tool that would foster political debate and citizen decision-making participation at the EU level. Such a transformation is not possible without strengthening the legislative impact of successful ECIs. The paper will therefore propose ways of making the ECI legislatively more powerful and thus fully capable of fulfilling its democratisation potential.
Keywords: European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ECI failure, ECI evaluation, ECI revision, ECI transformation
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