As of 1 April 2012, EU citizens have a new tool allowing them to participate in shaping EU policy. Put in place by the Lisbon Treaty, the citizens' initiative allows 1 million citizens from at least a quarter of the EU Member States to ask the European Commission to propose legislation in areas that fall within its competence.
The organisers of a citizens' initiative - a citizens' committee composed of at least 7 EU citizens, resident in at least 7 different Member States - have 1 year to collect the necessary support.
Signatures must be certified by the competent authorities in each Member States. Organisers of successful initiatives will participate in a hearing at the European Parliament. The Commission will have 3 months to examine the initiative and decide how to act on it.