April 22, 2008
We are pleased to note that Lisbon Treaty has adopted in Art. 11.2 TEU one of the most positive innovations of the Draft Constitution (Art. I-47). That is to say, the principle of participatory democracy, and the right of one million citizens to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where they consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Constitution.
The EMI has several tasks to do to ensure the optimum effective implementation of this article. In the first place, we need to lobby for support, both financial and otherwise, for NLO’s, and especially those of a pro-European character, preferably those which desire a strong and consolidated EU and whose aims are those of the Treaty itself: peace, human dignity, democracy, equality through dialogue and multilateralism under the auspices of the UN. In the second place, we need to lobby in favour of increasing the use of referendums on the strict condition that they are considered necessary and the subject is of sufficient importance. Lastly, we need to work towards encouraging and, above all, guaranteeing the effectiveness of participatory democracy through the “million signature” procedure described above. This means that we cannot allow the Commission to decide whether to follow up on the proposal or not, as is the case according to the Treaty. The Commission must take into consideration every proposal submitted and make a specific recommendation. The EMI must work strenuously to prevent cases where such important citizen initiatives end up forgotten in a drawer in the Berlaymont.