It is not an April Fool’s joke. It is finally happening. After years of talks, the EU will launch on the 1st of April the European Citizens initiative. The programme will enable people to propose new laws. Citizens will need to collect one million signatures from at least 7 different member states.
The initiative hopes to build a stronger link between Brussels and the people on the streets. Surveys often show that Europeans think there is a democratic deficit in Europe. Eurocrats claim it will increase the quality of democracy and the transparency in the decision-making process.
From legalizing Gay marriage to improving the situation of media freedom across Europe. Already dozens of petitions have been put forward by various NGO’s and now are collecting signatures.
Opponents of the initiative complain about how strict the conditions are.
The concept of the European Citizens Initiative was first introduced in the European Constitution, rejected in 2005 by referenda in France and the Netherlands. The idea then was put forward again in the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. It has taken more than two years to develop that idea into a precise mechanism that now takes effect.