Press release_

"Yesterday something very serious has happened: with a watered-down compromise endorsed by big political groups (EPP and S&D), the European Parliament has weakened an instrument in the hands of citizens". This is how the Italian MEP from the Five Stars Movement Eleonora Evi analyses the approval by the plenary session in Strasbourg of the mandate for negotiating with the EU Council the new ECI Regulation. "The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) enables one million EU citizens (coming from at least 7 of the 28 Member states) to call directly on the European Commission to propose legislation of interest to them. A true instrument of direct democracy, which thus far has not worked well" - underlines Evi.

"In the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament (where I seat as a full Member) we have proposed and approved changes to make it more effective. One of these concerned the follow-up to be given to ECIs, calling, in particular, for the European Commission to report in the context of an additional public hearing on the progress made after 12 months from its official reply to ECIs. This was a way to put the Commission before its responsibilities vis-à-vis the requests coming from millions of citizens across the EU and not to act as they did not matter". This call has been deleted from the final text brought to plenary vote today and approved by MEPs.

"Due to a political trick - declares Evi - the EP has finally chosen not to endorse our proposal, which would have introduced a further safeguard to the benefit of the rights of each European citizen. In our view, weakening an instrument with such a great potential, as the ECI, is outrageous. We think this is an absolutely missed opportunity. Therefore, as we did today, we will keep on opposing each and every attempt to put aside the rights of EU citizens rights".

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