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Regulation for the European Citizens Initiative (ECI)

25. April 2010 – 22:30 by Fraser Henderson - ICELE

The EC have recently published new details of how an ECI will work.

For those of you that don’t know a European Citizens’ Initiative is effectively a pan-European petition, ratified by the Lisbon treaty, a direct democracy instrument which requires 1 million signatures from a significant number of European citizens’ to trigger a legislative change/review.

Similar trial projects have already started under the eParticipation preparatory action such as EuroPetiton and eMPOWER.

There is no doubt that technology is the answer but there are quite a few hurdles to overcome in designing the (e)system and, perhaps more importantly, guaranteeing its integrity.  For example:-

  • The system / process must be easy to use
  • Must include measures to prevent fraud
  • Must not be a burden to member states
  • 1/3 member states is considered as significant but individual thresholds for each member state will be implemented for the purposes of proportional representation. In the UK this is 54,750.
  • Must operate on multiple channels, including paper,with on-line at the outset
  • 12 months signature collection period maximum
  • Fixed minimum age of 16 for supporters (corresponding to the vote age in European parliament)
  • Mandatory registration favoured (just to use system)
  • Must be free at the point of use
  • Member states to be responsible for checking validity. On-line to be present at outset
  • After 300,000 statements of support have been collected from significant sample then the EC will provide a statement of admissibility
  • EC must respond to admissibility checks within 2 months of receipt
  • Maximum of 3 months for signature validity checks by member states, random sampling is acceptable
  • Accepted ECI’s have a time limit of 4 months before the EC must provide a public response
  • The petition organiser is the data controller, provisions must be in place to protect the privacy of signers

This will be reviewed after 5 years.

The so-called ‘prayer’ will consist of:-

• A title, no more than 100 characters
• The subject matter, no more than 200 characters
• A description, no more than 500 characters
• The legal base of the treaties which would allow the Commission to act
• The name, postal address and email address of the organiser (or legal entity)
• All sources of funding and support for the initiative at the time of registration
• Extra option info at the discretion of the petition organiser. This could include background or a draft legislative text.
• Time stamp and signature. Details of ‘personal identification number’ (e.g. passport #)

So there you have it, now it’s just a small matter of sorting out digital certificates for all citizens?  Could this be the mother of all problems which will see a culmination of solutions from EU projects such as STORK, FAST and GEMOM?

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  1. One Response to “Regulation for the European Citizens Initiative (ECI)”

  2. By osimod on Apr 26, 2010

    Thanks for the good analysis Fraser. Let’s see what the requirements for e-0authentication will be – due in 12 months.
    But I assume already that Facebook Connect will not be an accepted authentication. Should it? Would that be accepted in the US?

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