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Increasing the effectiveness of the European Citizens' Initiative process

Summary of the decision on own-initiative inquiry OI/9/2013/TN concerning the European Commission

Available since April 2012, the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) allows a group of at least one million EU citizens to call on the European Commission to propose new EU legislation. After receiving a number of complaints, the Ombudsman decided to investigate the proper functioning of the ECI procedure and the Commission's role and responsibility in this regard. The Ombudsman invited organisers of ECIs, civil society organisations, and other interested persons to provide input on how well the ECI is working. On the basis of these responses, the Ombudsman made a range of suggestions to the Commission to increase the effectiveness of the ECI process.

Having received the Commission’s response, the Ombudsman now concludes her inquiry with eleven guidelines for further improvement. While noting that the Commission has done a lot to give effect to the ECI right in a citizen-friendly way, the Ombudsman believes that more can be done. As some of these suggestions are relevant to the European Parliament, the Ombudsman will also write to the President of Parliament. In this way, she trusts that her suggestions, made both during the inquiry and in this decision, will prove useful as these institutions, together with the Council of the EU, set about reviewing the ECI Regulation later this year.