Policy Paper on ECIs

Within the context of EU Sign Day 2021, the Voters Without Borders team put together this Policy Paper in order to help highlight the lack of general awareness of ECIs among European citizens, and to put forward our proposals for policy recommendations and actions. 

Main findings
One of the common assumptions about ECIs’ success is the number of signatures collected. However, we argue in this paper that the signature collection is not the only criterion for success. Indeed, ECIs can produce formal and informal results without reaching the one million.

One million signatures are a high threshold to achieve, in addition to other difficulties that ECIs are facing since 2011, the year this tool came into force. It took several years for the European Commission to produce a regulation (No 2019/788) aiming at improving ECIs’ admitted flaws. This regulation indeed addresses some of the difficulties encountered by ECIs promoters but there are still obstacles — one of them being the lack of European citizens’ awareness.

Policy recommendations and actions
As the expectations of this transnational participatory democracy do not meet the reality, we are requesting a third phase in ECI reform, including a change in the administrative culture and a sustainable management of ECIs through strong support from the European Institutions in the long run:

  • Access to ECI’s for all
  • Awareness raising
  • Action over the longer term

In order to achieve these reforms, the Conference on the Future of Europe should ask for the launch of a communication campaign on ECIs collectively by the European Commission and the European Parliament as well. To ease this process, the 9th of May should include EU Sign Day and its content and objectives.