Act for Your Rights

ECI: European Citizens'Initiative

Respect for the Rule of Law within the European Union

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What is an ECI?

An ECI - European Citizens' Initiative - is a participatory democracy instrument that allows citizens to suggest concrete legal changes in any field where the European Commission has the power to propose legislation.

To launch an initiative, it takes seven EU citizens, living in at least seven different Member States.

Once an initiative gathers one million signatures with minimum thresholds reached in at least seven countries, the European Commission must decide whether or not to take action.

If the Commission decides to put forward a legislative proposal, the normal legislative procedure kicks off: the Commission proposal is submitted to the legislator (generally the European Parliament and the Council or in some cases only the Council) and, if adopted, it becomes law.

The proposed ECI

Subject-matter

Creation of an objective and impartial evaluation mechanism to verify the application of the European Union’s values by all the Member States.

Main objectives

(a) Provide the European Union with general legislation making it possible to verify in an objective manner the practical application of national provisions relating to the rule of law in order to strengthen mutual trust between the Member States and to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of Article 7 TEU concerning possible breaches of the Union’s values.

(b) Facilitate the enforcement of European laws on judicial cooperation in criminal matters (e.g. the European Arrest Warrant).

Provisions of the Treaties considered relevant by the organisers: Article 70 TFEU

The (Consolidated version of) the Treaty on European Union (Art.7)

The (Consolidated version of) the Treaty on European Union (Art.7) aims to ensure the respect of the European values, including Rule of Law.

It is currently possible both in case of risk of violation and actual violation of breach of values - an active intervention of the Council of the European Union.

Specifically in case of existence of a serious and persistent breach by a Member State of the values, the Council, acting by a qualified majority, may decide to suspend certain of the rights deriving from the application of the Treaties to the Member State in question, including the voting rights in the Council ["sanction mechanism", art 7(2)].

In case of clear risk of serious breach of EU values, the Council may address to the concerned country specific Recommendations. (prevention mechanism, art.7.(1))

In both cases the Council has the” last word” on the initiative to be take. In particular, to apply the suspension of rights of a Member State, the Council shall decide unanimously.

Our ECI aims specifically to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of Article 7 TEU, strengthening mutual trust between the Member States. It aims to be a concrete instrument to verify the practical application of national provisions relating to the rule of law. Concretely we want to solicit the European Institutions on enforcing European laws on judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

A widespread debate

In order to have real and lasting change, we need to bring the topic of the rule of law in Europe into the public minds.

Let’s have a widespread debate about it, let’s help each other understand the benefits of a functioning rule of law and the dangers of being to easy on implementing it.

Without the rule of law our European democracies are hollowed out. To protect ourselves, our freedoms and rights, our European enlightment heritage and the future of our children, we cannot let this happen.

Let’s act now, sign this petition, help us spread the word, and sign up to our growing network of European citizens active in this field. We can change Europe for the better. Together!"

RULE OF LAW Rule of Law

The application of the European Union's values by all Member States.

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