After a decade of negotiations, referenda and trials in front of several consitutional courts, today, on 1 December 2009, the Lisbon Treaty enters into force. From now on, the European does not only have a continuous coucil presidency, a ‘foreign minister’ and a much stronger parliament.The citizens also have new possibilities to influence political developments as the “European Citizens’ Initiative’ from now on is part of the treaties.
Citizens of Europe has been part of the network of civil society organisations from all over Europe, who campaigned and lobbied for this new small element of direct democracy. Currently, several concrete initiatives are being planned. We know for example about initiatives on the European Bachelor/Master studies programme and on different environmental issues. However, currently the concrete rules for such initiatives are not yet elaborated.
In order to prepare the legislation which will make the ECI operational, the European Commission has now published a Green Paper. This action coincides with the launching of a public consultation process, which aims at seeking views of all interested individual citizens and organizations on how to design the implementation laws for the European Citizens’ Initiative. In the third issue of “ECI-News”, the ECI campaign coordinator Carsten Berg informs in detail about the points being debated and the expectations being raised towards the European Commission by civil society organisations.