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21 July 2017
The EU closer to its citizens

The Treaty of Lisbon introduced the European Citizens’ Initiative. The new participatory democracy provision indicates that one million citizens who are nationals of a significant number of Member States may take the initiative of inviting the European Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.

A European citizens' initiative is an invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate. A citizens' initiative has to be backed by at least one million EU citizens, coming from at least 7 out of the 28 member states. A minimum number of signatories is required in each of those 7 member states.

The rules and procedures governing the citizens' initiative are set out in an EU Regulation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in February 2011.

A citizens' initiative is possible in any field where the Commission has the power to propose legislation, for example environment, agriculture, transport or public health.