European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission decides to register a new initiative on safeguarding fundamental rights at the EU’s borders

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the Commission decided to register a European citizens’ initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Article 4: Stop torture and inhuman treatment at Europe’s borders’.

The Initiative calls for a framework ensuring compliance with the prohibition of violence and inhuman and degrading treatments enshrined in Article 4 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in relation to the EU policies concerning border controls, asylum and immigration.

The decision to register is of a legal nature and it does not prejudge the final legal and political conclusions of the Commission on this initiative and the action it will intend to take, if any, in case the initiative obtains the necessary support.

As this European Citizens’ Initiative fulfils the formal conditions, the Commission considers that it is legally admissible. The Commission has not analysed the substance of the proposal at this stage.

The registration does not imply that the Commission in any way confirms the factual correctness of the content of the initiative, which is the sole responsibility of the group of organisers. The content of the initiative only expresses the views of the group of organisers, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the Commission.

Next Steps

Following today’s registration, the organisers have six months to open the signature collection. If a European Citizens’ Initiative receives one million statements of support within one year, from at least seven different Member States, the Commission will have to react. The Commission could decide to take the request forward or not, and will be required to explain its reasoning.

Background

The European Citizens’ Initiative was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. It was officially launched in April 2012. Once formally registered, a European Citizens’ Initiative allows one million citizens from at least seven EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose legal acts in areas where it has the power to act. The conditions for admissibility are: (1) the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, (2) it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and (3) it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.

Since the beginning of the ECI, the Commission has received 120 requests to launch a European Citizens’ Initiative, 97 of which were admissible and thus qualified to be registered. Today’s decision is the first initiative registered this year.

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