The European Commission is gearing up to launch an ambitious plan that seeks to make the European Union more democratic.
From the 1st of April, any citizen of a member state of the EU can introduce an initiative to get his or her idea turned into EU law. To make that happen, they need one million signatures from at least seven countries.
This European Citizens' Initiative enables citizens to participate more actively in Europe's democratic life.
Brussels hopes the ECI will boost transparency and increases the quality of European democracy.
Critics question whether the instrument will be hijacked by organised civil society, swallowing up ordinary citizens’ campaigns. Some experts speaking at this conference in Brussels compare the initiative to "climbing Mount Everest". An ECI could take years to start influencing the policy-making process.
The initiative is one of the democratic tools pushed forward by the Lisbon Treaty. It will enter into force on the 1st of April of this year, exactly two years after the Commission launched the formal proposal for the plan.