European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek and Hungarian Foreign Minister János Martonyi today signed the regulation on the rules of implementation of the European Citizens' Initiative, one of the most important novelties of the Lisbon Treaty. In his speech delivered before the signing ceremony, Mr Martonyi said that the ECI marks a milestone in the history of the European integration as it creates a direct link between the citizens and the European institutions. President Buzek reminded that all the institutions had to work hard to get through the decision making process in such a short time.
'Today, we sign the European Citizens’ Initiative into law. Soon, I hope, I will sign the first piece of legislation stemming from a direct demand of one million plus Europeans,' said Mr Buzek.
During the signing ceremony, President Buzek thanked in particular the Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies of the Council, the European Commission, the Chairs from the AFCO and PETI Committees, Carlo Casini and Erminia Mazzoni, the four rapporteurs – Alain Lamassoure, Zita Gurmai, Diana Wallis and Gerald Häfner, as well as many other Members involved as shadow rapporteurs.
The European Citizens’ Initiative will allow EU citizens to ask the Commission to bring forward a legislative proposal if the signatories of an initiative number at least one million and come from a significant number of member states, if the proposed initiative falls within an area of EU competence and is in line with the Union’s values.
The required “significant number” of member states is defined as at least one quarter of EU members. The required minimum numbers of signatures from each member state amounts to the number of Members of the European Parliament elected in each member state multiplied by 750.