European Citizens' Initiatives

European Citizens' Initiatives

We aim to support civil society in Europe to the utmost capacity. As a result, we aim to make citizens aware of the European Citizens' Initiative. The ECI is an instrument for direct democracy available to all European citizens, whereby citizens can make suggestions to the European Commission's legislation. In order for suggestions to be taken into consideration a petition is required to collect at least 1 million signatures from at least 7 EU member states. Given that since its introduction in 2011, only 3 petitions have received over 1 million signatures, we believe it is important to increase European Citizens' awareness of the ECI as an instrument.

The European Commission’s ECI regulations are under review, with possible implications for signature and email collection and the use of this direct democracy tool in the future. To determine how to engage with ECIs in coming years, research was conducted to understand the political implications of the ECI reform regulation and the organisational impact this could have for WeMove Europe gGmbH.

To further our strategy on systemic change, research has been conducted to build a strong understanding of systemic change campaigning and the concept of leverage points in this context. The research was shared in multiple in-house trainings on how to identify leverage points and approach campaigning through a systemic change lens.

We have cooperated on the following ECIs:

People4Soil

"People4Soil" was an initiative that promotes the protection of soil and fights against enivronmental pollution and soil erosion. Over the last 50 years an area the size of Hungary has been covered with concrete for industry and human settlement. Furthermore, over 250,000 sites are chemically contaminated and almost half of agricultural soil is threated by the depletion of Humus, with millions of hectares also being damaged by wind and rain erosion. The ECI for "People4Soil" was completed on 21 September 2017 and was able to collect 71,877 valid signatures. "People4Soil" represented an important initiative as soil is vital to all living creatures, be it humans or biodiversity.

WeMove Europe gGmbH assisted the project by taking care of the online collection of signatures for the petition. A server of WeMove Europe gGmbH was used and it took responsibility for ensuring that the collection of signatures through the petition software (OPENECI) was recognized as legitimate.

People4Soil

Stop Glyphosate!

The work on “Stop Glyphosate” that began in 2016, was also a predominant part of our activites in 2017. The Alliance for this ECI brought together a large number of environmental organisations and individuals, calling for a reform to the European authorisation procedure for pesticides. In connection with the ECI, WeMove Europe gGmBH has comprehensively discussed the pesticide glyphosate in order to spread information and make citizens more aware of its health consequences and its environmental impact. At the same time, we managed to publicise the instrument of the European Citizens' Initiative. In 2017, more than one million Europeans asked the European Commission to ban glyphosate and ensure the publication of all industry-funded studies used to back up regulatory decisions on pesticides.

The scientific evidence of glyphosate’s carcinogenic effect is increasing. Already in 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” [1] And more recently, a review of existing studies from the University of Washington found that exposure to glyphosate increases the risk of cancer by 41 percent. [2] They noted that a “compelling link” exists between exposure to glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The pesticide industry and giants like Bayer-Monsanto continue to maintain that glyphosate is safe. [3] However, US litigation has brought to light evidence of how they manipulated the scientific debate and misled the public over glyphosate’s dangers. In 2017 when the EU made a decision to prolong glyphosate license for 5 years until 2022, it based its decision on an assessment that included text that was copied and pasted directly from the application dossier submitted by Monsanto, without attribution. [4]

References:

  1. https://www.iarc.fr/featured-news/media-centre-iarc-news-glyphosate/

  2. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/14/health/us-glyphosate-cancer-study-scl...

  3. https://www.dw.com/en/austrian-parliament-votes-to-ban-glyphosate-weedki...

  4. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/eu-glyphosate-approv...

Stop Glyphosate!

We Are A Welcoming Europe

In 2017 we agreed to cooperate on an European Citizen's initiative entitled "We are a welcoming Europe" with the Migration Policy Group. "We are a welcoming Europe" was the first ECI on migration. It sought to compel the EU to change its migration policies and reclaimed our right to help migrants and refugees. WeMove Europe gGmBH gave MPG extensive advice on how to achieve the best possible participation of citizens in this ECI and also imparted our knowledge in the use of the OpenECI software.

The demands of "We are a welcoming Europe", as stated on the Migration Policy Group's WEBSITE, were the following:

  1. End the criminilisation of solidarity: no one should be prosecuted, punished or fined for offering humanitarian help to migrants and refugees. We want the EU to stop governments that are punishing volunteers.

  2. Provide access to justice to migrant victims of abuse and exploitation: everyone has the right to justice. We want the EU to guarantee more effective ways and rules to defend migrant victims of labour exploitation and human rights abuses at our borders, regardless of their status.

  3. Support citizens that want to sponsor refugees: citizens across Europe want to sponsor refugees to offer them a safe home and a new life. We want the EU to offer direct support to local groups that help refugees who are granted national visas.

WeMove assisted and advised the Migration Policy Group as to how best engage European citizens and get a high level of participation.

On 15 February 2018 "We are a welcoming Europe" was registered and led to the European Parliament adopting a resolution on guidelines for Member States to prevent humanitarian assistance from being criminalised on 5 July 2018.

We Are A Welcoming Europe

End the Cage Age

"End the Cage Age" was a campaign to stop caged farming, which was registered on 11 September 2018. WeMove Europe gGmbH assisted "End the Cage Age" by giving them extensive advice on how to achieve the best possible participation of citizens in this ECI and also imparted our knowledge in the use of the OpenECI software. The signature collection period lasted a year, and by 11 September 2019, 1.5 million signatures had been collected.

According to the "END THE CAGE AGE" WEBSITE the campaign represents the 94% of people in Europe who believe the protection of animals' welfare is important, and 82% of who believe farm animals should be protected.

End the Cage Age