Today, the European Commission decided to register a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Preservation and development of Ukrainian culture, education, language, and traditions in EU states’
The organisers of the initiative urge the Commission to step up its actions in supporting the integration of Ukrainian refugees in the EU. They also call on the Commission to propose new legislation to preserve Ukrainian culture, language, traditions and heritage, as well as to establish a pan-European structure of integration centres.
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 the European Citizens’ Initiative fulfils the formal conditions established in the relevant legislation, the Commission considers that it is legally admissible. The Commission has not analysed the substance of the proposal at this stage.
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 will have to decide whether to take action in response to the request or not, and will be required to explain its reasoning.
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 128 requests to launch a European Citizens’ Initiative, 103 of which were admissible and thus qualified to be registered.