This is participatory democracy, baby

by Lorenzo Piccoli


The European Citizens’ Initiative is something that would certainly appeal the supporters of the M5S in Italy and all those who believe in participatory online democracy. Unfortunately, most of these people probably do not know about it. The Initiative was one of the “main innovations under The Treaty of Lisbon”. In a nutshell, it enables citizens of member states to suggest proposals for legislation that will apply throughout the EU. The principle precondition is that the initiative must be validated by the European Commission and that the petition must be signed by a minimum of one million Europeans, from at least seven member states, over a period of less than one year.

To date, only one initiative of this type has succeeded in gathering the required number of signatures: the Right2Water campaign, which wants access to water to be recognised as a universal human right. In contrast, there are others fundamental initiatives which unfortunately run slightly low of support. The best to date are the following ones:

  • a petition to limit to 30km/h the speed limit in Europe’s cities and villages;
  • a petition to criminalise Ecocide and crimes against the Earth to ensure that natural and legal persons can be held responsible for committing Ecocide according to the principle of superior responsibility;
  • a petition to adapt the European Anthem’s official version to the neutral pan-European language, Esperanto when citizens wish to express their common European identity.
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