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European Citizens Initiative to be launched against CETA and TTIP

A media release notes, “Organisations from all across Europe are currently gearing up for a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) with the aim of repealing the European Union’s negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade Investor Partnership (TTIP) and not concluding the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).”

“An ECI can request a legislative act from the European Commission and force a hearing at the European Parliament. For an ECI to be successful, at least one million signatures must be collected. At the same time, country-specific quorums must be achieved in at least seven EU member states. In Germany, for example, the quorum will be 72,000 signatures. France has to collect 55,500 signatures and the United Kingdom and Italy need 54,750 signatures.”

“The registration of the ECI is planned for July. The collection of signatures is due to start in September 2014.”

In 2013-14, the Council of Canadians and the Blue Planet Project supported the European Citizens Initiative on the right to water. In February 2013, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke to the Chamber of Labour in Vienna, Austria in support of this initiative. By December 2013, 1.8 million signatures had been collected in support of this initiative, well over the 1 million required.

According to a European Commission backgrounder, “In the three months following the submission of a citizens’ initiative which has received the required number of statements of support:

  • Commission representatives will meet the organisers so they can explain in detail the issues raised in their initiative; 

  • the organisers will have the opportunity to present their initiative at a public hearing in the European Parliament; 

  • following a careful examination of the initiative, the Commission will adopt a formal response spelling out what action it intends to take, if any, and its reasons.”

This document also notes, “If the Commission decides to put forward a legislative proposal in response to a citizens’ initiative, the normal legislative procedure kicks off. The Commission proposal is submitted to the legislator (the European Parliament and the Council or in some cases only the Council), which will need to adopt it for it to become law.”

The results of the right to water initiative were mixed. On March 19, 2014, the European Commission stated, “The Commission today decided to react positively to the first ever successful European Citizens’ Initiative, in those areas where it is able to act. …The decision on how best to operate water services is firmly in the hands of the public authorities in the Member States, and the Commission will continue to respect Treaty rules requiring the EU to remain neutral on national decisions governing ownership of water undertakings. Similarly, in international trade negotiations, the Commission will continue to ensure that national, regional and local choices on how to run water services are respected and safeguarded.”

The media release notes, “More information on the ECI against TTIP and CETA will be announced at a press conference in Brussels in mid-July 2014.”

More on the Initiative against TTIP and CETA can be read here.

For more information on the Council of Canadians campaign against CETA, please click here.