On the occasion of ECI DAY on June 2nd, ONE OF US went to Brussels to remind Europe of that success and to highlight once again the voices of those who supported the initiative and defend vulnerable human lives. Indeed, One of Us is the most successful European Citizens’ Initiative, as it collected the biggest number of signatures (with over 1.7 million citizens signing) from 17 Member States.

As usual ONE OF US raises an issue that is both delicate and essential: the protection of vulnerable human lives. At a time when the protection of human life and dignity are being questioned not only in Europe but around the world, the democratic strength of One of Us sends a clear message to the EU institutions : human life must be protected as a fundamental right, but it also must be nourished and supported across those policy areas which fall into the competencies of the Europe Union and its institutions, both internally and beyond the Union.

For the past 10 years, the democratic tool of the ECI has not proven its effectiveness and the day of 2 June confirmed that. Only six European initiatives have succeeded in meeting the demanding conditions necessary for the examination of an ECI and only two of those 6 had a somewhat answer from the European Commission.  This proves, and the members of the committee said it yesterday, that if a request is not aligned with the Commission’s agenda, it cannot be heard, despite the support of millions of citizens: is this a real democratic tool

We strongly believe that the European Union must no longer ignore the demands of the citizens through this important tool of European democracy. Discrimination towards ONE OF US and towards the defenders of human dignity should stop.  The ECI must be made a real tool for democratic debate.

The EU presented on Thursday 2 June its ambitions to improve the  involvement of citizens through various tools of participatory democracy such as the ECI and the CoFEU. But how could the EU citizens be expected to have their voices heard when the EU institutions keep ignoring them?

This must change and the EU institutions must demonstrate that European democracy is more than photo opportunities for EU leaders.