European Citizens' Initiative
The by strengthening participatory democracy
and bringing the citizens to the centre of policy-making at
In this context, the Treaty reinforces and
adds content to European citizenship through the introduction
of the European Citizens' Initiative. This innovative mechanism
aims to enable a group of citizens from different Member States
to invite the European Commission to bring forward legislative
proposals in areas where the EU has competence to legislate,
for example, on the environment, agriculture, transport, etc.
This possibility was enacted in 2011 by Regulation
(EU) no. 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council
of 16 February 2011 on the citizens' initiative.
Each European Citizens Initiative must have
the support of at least one million EU citizens, of the minimum
age required to exercise the right to vote according to national
legislation, including residents in at least 7 of the 28 Member
States and obtain, in each of these states, a minimum number
of subscribers, which varies according to each Member
However, prior to submitting the initiative,
a citizens' committee must be formed, composed of at least
seven European citizens including residents in seven European
Union countries. This committee will be responsible for managing
the entire process and collecting the signatures of European
Therefore, from 1 April 2012 it became possible
for any citizen to prepare an initiative and form a citizens'
committee together with at least six more European citizens
(who may have the same nationality or a different nationality)
but who must reside in different Member States.
Next, the initiative must be registered here,
and after the European Commission confirms that the initiative
is within the competence of the European Union, signatures
of citizens (who, in Portugal, should be at least 18 years
of age) may begin to be collected in at least seven EU countries.
However, to collect signatures (also called statements of
support) electronically, a certification
of the collection system must be obtained beforehand.
The next step is to request that the competent
national authority attest to the validity of the signatures
collected. For signatures collected in Portugal (minimum 16,500)
the competent authority is the Central
Registry - Institute of Registries and Notaries. The remaining
members of the citizens' committee should collect signatures
at the same time and have them validated in their own countries.
The signature collection period shall not exceed 12 months.
When at least one million signatures have been collected,
the initiative can be presented to the European Commission,
which can then set in motion the corresponding legislative
For further information, the European
Commission has created a page on the European Citizens' Initiative,