EU citizens' initiative 'agenda-setting' innovation

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EU citizens' initiative 'agenda-setting' innovation

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Euronews asks one of the European Commission’s vice-presidents, Maros Sefcovic, about the Lisbon Treaty provision to boost the EU’s democratic credentials — the ‘citizens’ initiative’.

Sergio Cantone, Euronews: Mr Commissioner, what is the citizens’ initiative?

Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, Maros Sefcovic: If we had one million signatures from one third of the member states, they [the citizens] really can invite the Commission to present a legislative proposal. So, it means in this respect they are coming to the same situation as the Council or the European Parliamant. We are trying to bring Europe closer to the citizens and involve more the citizens in the agenda-setting of the whole European Union.

Euronews: Is there any filter to avoid a directive that you don’t like?

Sefcovic: We will simply not register the initiatives which are void of any seriousness or that are what we call silly initiatives.

Euronews: Who decides the seriousness?

Sefcovic: If it comes to this seriousness, it will be the administrative decision of the Commission services, but if it comes to the second safeguard, which is even more important, which has to evaluate if the initiative is in accordance with the European values, then it is a political decision of the College [the 27 Commissioners].

Euronews: A proposal for a single seat for the European Parliament, is it a serious one?

Sefcovic: This is the third case, which comes under the admissibility check, and we agreed that we would check if this falls within the comptences of the Commisison, and if it follows the aims of the Treaties, and it clearly is not the case.