It is this particular context, in which different youth organisations like the European Youth Forum, the European Students Forum and different JEF-sections are developing a Europe-wide bottom-up project: the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). This campaign calls for the introduction of the right to start European Citizens’ Initiatives. So far we as Europeans Citizens are still imprisoned in national politics. There is no chance yet to get together as Europeans at the transnational level and set the political agenda of the EU. The right to start European Citizens’ Initiatives will help to overcome this problem.
Being issue-focused, the right of initiative will contribute to shaping an open European public space around key debates that reflect citizens’ real concerns. In other words, the ECI will not only help to close the gap between citizens and institutions, but also foster the development of a vivid European civil society.
The central idea of this campaign is to collect as many signatures as possible of people from all member states, demanding the introduction of the ECI by the EU. The campaign is now in the preparatory phase, working towards a series of events, widespread publicity and a large-scale drive for signatures in autumn 2006.
At this stage the campaign is supported by more than 35 organizations and prominent former Convention members like the French conservative Alain Lamassoure, the Spanish socialist Carlos Carnero and the representative of the German Bundestag Prof. Jürgen Meyer. Furthermore the President of the Constitutional Affairs Committee Jo Leinen (honorary member of JEF-Europe) in the European Parliament and Gabriele Fragnière, former rector of the College of Europe, were among the first signatories and active supporters.
Commit yourself, sign as well and spread the word to motivate others becoming active in this Europe-wide action. By creating this campaign we are showing that we have the will and capacity to take the European project into our own hands.