Spindelegger: "European Citizens‘ Initiative – giving people a say"
Vienna, 31 March 2012 – As from 1 April 2012, citizens of the European Union can for the first time organise and support EU-wide citizens’ initiatives by calling on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal.
Austrian Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Michael Spindelegger commented: "The European Citizens‘ Initiative brings a wind of change to democratic coexistence in Europe. The European Union is coming closer to its citizens. It has taken us a long time to prepare this new tool – now it is finally ready to be applied and everybody is invited to use their new voice to contribute even more directly to the shaping of Europe."
The establishment of European Citizens’ Initiatives was laid down in the Treaty of Lisbon. To be successful, a citizens' initiative needs to be backed by at least one million EU citizens, coming from at least 7 out of the 27 member states. A minimum number of signatories is required in each of those 7 member states – in the case of Austria, the minimum is 14,250 signatories. All EU citizens old enough to vote (in Austria people from the age of 16) can sign a citizens' initiative.
"I am convinced that the European Citizens‘ Initiative will create an ever closer relationships between the citizens of Europe and the civil societies of the 27 EU member states. New, cross-border initiatives, new common ideas and shared objectives will emerge – a new dimension of participative democracy in Europe has opened up”, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Spindelegger continued.
"The European Citizens’ Initiative will strengthen the say that our citizens have in shaping European legislative acts and also boost the European identity and awareness of Europe”.
The Foreign Minister was pleased about an especially great level of interest for the European Citizens’ Initiatives in Austria. “Recent surveys have shown that approval and readiness for support are high, especially among young Austrians entitled to vote. I hope that they will all make use of their rights and options for shaping the political life as best they can”, Spindelegger concluded.
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