Ahead of tomorrow's vote on the Schöpflin report on the European Citizens' Initiative, Italian GUE/NGL MEP Barbara Spinelli outlined her views for and against the report and why it is important to save the ECI:

“The European Union discovered participatory democracy after a crisis: Ireland's “No” vote to the Treaty of Nice in 2001. The European Citizens' Initiative, that is now part of the Treaties, was a response to that crisis. However, the crisis is getting worse and participatory democracy is moribund: no legislative proposals have followed successful Initiatives.

“Although the Schöpflin report is far from perfect, because it does not allow modifications to the Treaties, it was adopted unanimously in the Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) Committee since it greatly eases the legal follow-up to the Initiatives.

“But I call on this Parliament to reject amendment 4 to paragraph 30 which will transform the ECI into a bow without arrows. This amendment urges the Commission to start preparing a legal act on successful ECIs but only after issuing a positive opinion.

“Up until now 29 initiatives out of 49 submissions have gone through the process of registration and only three of them have reached the 1 million signature threshold. Only the ECI Right2Water received a positive – although vague – communication from the European Commission. None of the successful ECIs has led to legislative follow-up.  In addition, Commissioner Malmström, answering petitions submitted against the TTIP, stated recently: “I do not take my mandate from the European people”. If that is the case, I am curious to know from whom does the European Commission take its mandate? 

GUE/NGL Press Contact:

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

Nikki Sullings + 32 483 03 55 75

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