The COVID-19 epidemic has risen serious concerns about its impact on democracy. While this is largely due to the response of some EU Member States ‘governments, it is also because of the unavoidable circumstances created by the crisis.
Such is the case with the European Citizens’ Initiative, the EU’s main instrument for participatory democracy. Based on its rules of conduct, organisers have 12 months to collect at least 1 000 000 signatures of support and meet the threshold in at least 7 EU Member States. The restrictive measures in response to the coronavirus and a news cycle that covered little else made it nearly impossible for ongoing initiatives to carry this out on time.
To address this new challenge, the European Commission proposed a deadline extension for the collection, verification and examination phases of affected European Citizens’ Initiatives. On June 19th, with almost an unanimous vote, the European Parliament approved the proposal, bringing it one step closer to realisation. The European Council has to also make a decision ‘for’ or ‘against’, which is expected to happen at some point in July. The proposed changes can be viewed here.
Meanwhile, the European Citizens’ Initiative Forum held two interactive webinars to help organisers better prepare and adapt to the ongoing situation. With record-breaking attendance, participants learned from top experts in the field which mistakes to avoid when registering an initiative and how to effectively campaign online for signatures of support.
In this edition of ECAS’ Highlight of the Week, we invite you to watch recordings of both webinars, which will equip you with better knowledge on how to participate in the EU policy-making process.
Webinar: Campaigning online for your European citizens’ initiative (June 16th):
Communications and campaigning experts share their expertise on the subject and provide tips and hints related to the process. They also highlight the best practices to follow in order to build an effective communication strategy for a European citizens’ initiative, taking into consideration all the different elements such as social media presence, creating an attracting website and building effective networks.
Speakers: Olga Kikou, organiser of one of the most successful European Citizens’ Initiatives – End The Cage Age – and Meike Hartwig of Change.org, the world’s leading platform for citizen campaigning.
Moderator: Petko Georgiev, Director of ProMedia
View the full recording here.
Webinar: Legal advice on drafting a European Citizens’ Initiative (May 28th):
This webinar build on the two-year experience of the ‘Seek Advice’ section of the European Citizens’ Initiative Forum by addressing the most common questions received and the most common mistakes to be avoided in the registration phase. It provides legal guidance on the process, with expert insight on the key aspects of the new European Citizens’ Initiative regulation which came into effect as of January 2020.
Speaker: Alicja Klosok, legal expert and part of the team working on the ‘Seek Advice‘ service of the European Citizens’ Initiative Forum. She is an associate in the Brussels antitrust, competition and trade group of Freshfield Bruckhaus Deringer.
Moderator: Flavio Grazian, ECAS Participatory Democracy Manager
View the full recording here.
Register for free on the European Citizens’ Initiative Forum and unlock various tools of support!
The European Citizens’ Initiative Forum is operated by ECAS on behalf of and under contract with the European Commission and is implemented in cooperation with sub contractors Democracy International (Germany) and ProMedia (Bulgaria).