European Citizens' Initiative

European Citizens' Initiative

Main Organisation


The European Citizens’ Initiative allows EU citizens to get involved in EU policy-making and put on the European agenda the issues that matter most to them. A citizens’ initiative brings together people from different EU countries to collect signatures and call on the European Commission to propose new laws on issues that are close to their hearts. It is a bottom-up way of starting a political debate and raising awareness of common causes which unite people across borders. The tool was launched in 2012, and several initiatives already led to concrete legislative proposals by the European Commission.


Participation Spectrum

When and Where

Start Year

Policy Context


Who was involved
How were the Participants selected?
Through what means citizens knew about the call for participation?
The ECI is regularly promoted in the #EUTakeTheInitiative communication campaign, including social media, events and others means. ECI organisers promote their own initiatives through various channels.
Students learn about it in political science/European studies etc.


Methodologies used
Methodology description
An initiative can be launched by at least seven EU citizens (nationals of an EU country), who live in seven different EU countries and who are old enough to vote in European elections (18 years old in most Member States, with some exceptions of younger age). These seven people can also set up a legal entity in one of the EU countries to manage the initiative.
Citizens’ initiatives cannot be run by organisations that are already established, but these organisations can promote or support initiatives as long as they do so openly.
Once an initiative has collected, within one year, 1 million valid signatures, reaching set thresholds in at least 7 Member States, its organisers can submit it to the Commission for examination. They can present it in a public hearing in the European Parliament and the European Parliament can adopt a resolution on it. Within six months after submission, the Commission shall adopt a communication in which it decides what action to take, if any (legislative or non-legislative or none).
Tools Used
Spaces Used


Main Outcomes and Lasting Achievement
From 2012 to 2021:
86 initiatives registered
6 successful initiatives
How were the outcome taken up within the process they were carried out?
A number of successful initiatives have led to new legislation, while some other successful initiatives have triggered non-legislative action.
Feedback provided
Other Feedback
The Commission adopted an official reply, in the form of a communication, to each valid initiative.


Main Challenges
Other challenges
Reason for such challenges and solutions
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for organisers of initiatives collecting statements of support. On the proposal of the Commission, the co-legislators have responded swiftly, by adopting in July 2020 legislation to allow under certain conditions for extensions of collection periods of initiatives affected (Regulation (EU) 2020/1042).