Briefing on the European Citizens' Initiative

Publication - March 27, 2012
A concise two page briefing on the European Citizens' Initiative.

The Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in December 2009, enshrines the right for a million Europeans to petition the European Commission and require it to draft legislation on the basis of their demands (or justify its refusal to do so). This right is known as the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI).

In December 2010, Greenpeace and Avaaz submitted a one million signature ECI in accordance with the rules established by EU treaties ( The ECI was in response to the first authorisation by the Commission in March 2010 for the cultivation of a genetically modified (GM) crop in Europe in 12 years. This authorisation was in direct breach of a request by all 27 member states for a review of the approval system for GM crops. It also raised serious health and environmental concerns. The ECI therefore called for a moratorium on all new authorisations and a review of the GM approval process.

On 1 April 2012, new operating rules on the work-ings of the ECI will come into force. This briefing clarifies Greenpeace’s position on the ECI and the status of the initiative on GM crops.

201203 BR ECI