The European citizens’ initiative (ECI) provides a platform for citizens to present a legislative proposal to the Commission, if they collect over a million signatures from at least a quarter of all member states. There are minimum numbers of signatures for each country, to try to ensure a broad support base across the EU.
The ECI on TTIP, initiated by Attac and supported by a wide spectrum of civil society organisations, aims “to recommend to the Council to repeal the negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and not to conclude the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).”
In a letter signed by the Secretary General Catherine Day, the legality of the ECI on TTIP was questioned.
The petition has the support of over 230 organisations in 21 Member States.
However the Commission refused to register the initiative, claiming that “your proposed citizens’ initiative falls outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act of the Union.
In an article on Euractiv, organisers questioned the Commission’s decision to reject the ECI, recalling the example of an ECI on the free movement agreement between Switzerland and the EU, known as “Swissout” that was accepted in 2013. Although its organisers withdrew the initiative, its acceptance by the European Commission created a precedent for ECIs concerning international agreements.
The organisers behind the ECI on TTIP plan to challenge the European Commission’s decision in the European courts.
The EU Commission’s justification for rejection
Legal opinion by Prof. Dr. Bernhard Kempen
Stop-TTIP on what is an ECI
More news on TTIP from Arc2020
TTIP Briefing notes