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Diana - Parliament misses opportunity for wider involvement in Citizen's Initiatives

December 1, 2010 10:43 AM
Originally published by Diana Wallis

Diana with the other three 'rapporteurs' of the European Citizen's Initiative: (l-r) Gerald Häfner, Zita Gurmai and Alain LamassoureThe European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee (AFCO) yesterday approved its report on the draft regulation to set up a European Citizen's Initiative, as foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty. The change will enable any physical person to address the European Commission with a subject for legislative action as long as it falls within the competences of the Treaties.

Diana, as author of the Petition Committee's report, on the subject commented:

"I welcome the vote in AFCO which supports many of the measures for simplifying the procedure to submit a European Citizens initiative, particularly deleting the Commission's original idea of a late admissibility check after 300,000 signatures have already been gathered.

"However I regret that the vote was not as progressive and inclusive as the view of the Petitions Committee that suggested EU residents (not just citizens) from the age of 16 should be included in order to really engage young people in European policy debate. The Parliament is missing an opportunity to extend a hand to Europe's youth and our future. "

According to Parliament's report, the Citizen's Initiative (CI) will be valid if the signatures collected come from at least 1/5th of the Member States. The legal age for signatures is left to the Member States to decide and it should not be a requirement to provide a copy of an ID card. Furthermore, the European Commission will have to organise a public hearing on those CIs which obtain the required number of signatures. Such a hearing can be jointly organised with other EU institutions.

The plenary vote on the report will take place on 16th December in Strasbourg.

(Photo shows Diana with the other three 'rapporteurs' of the European Citizen's Initiative: (l-r) Gerald Häfner, Zita Gurmai and Alain Lamassoure)