Getting involved in the EU democratic process

The threat of European values, Brexit and the rise of populist movements are some factors that may have led to the fact that the EU listened to citizens and is simplifying the way it communicates its message, but the EU is indeed listening.

This is one of the points that emerged during the ‘Take the Initiative’ – a European Citizens’ Initiative to help shape European policy held today at the European Commission Representation office in Valletta. MEUSAC participated in the discussion.

Workshops were also held whereby participants were asked to come up with ideas on how best to reach one million people to submit a successful proposal to the European Commission to help shape an EU policy, as the initiative is an opportunity to become directly involved in the European democratic process, allowing you to have a greater say in EU policies that affect your life.

In order for a submission to be treated as successful by the Commission, the number of signatures received would have to be no less than one million.

Some examples of past successful initiatives were a proposal to ban the use of glyphosate, which was submitted in 2017 and reached 1,070,865 signatures, to stop vivisection (2015), Right2Water (2013), and one that garnered most signatures themed ‘One of Us’ in 2014 with 1,721,626 signing the proposal, 4,500 signatures of which came from the Maltese population.

Some interesting facts include nine million-plus EU citizens supported the European Citizens’ Initiative since 2012, 56 initiatives were registered and 4, as mentioned earlier, were successful.

On the use of glyphosate, interestingly, it was only Malta out of all Member States that voted against its use and is still fighting in front of EU institutions to ban its use.

One of the aspects that emerged on how to reach these signatures was to engage in social dialogue.

Recently, MEUSAC launched a video funded by the European Social Fund which hammers the importance of social dialogue and the fact that social dialogue gives citizens and other stakeholders a voice to change things that affect your life. MEUSAC facilitates the consultation process in Malta.

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