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Procédure : 2014/2257(INI)
Cycle de vie en séance
Cycle relatif au document : A8-0284/2015

Textes déposés :

A8-0284/2015

Débats :

PV 26/10/2015 - 15
CRE 26/10/2015 - 15

Votes :

PV 28/10/2015 - 7.8
Explications de votes
Explications de votes

Textes adoptés :

P8_TA(2015)0382

Débats
Lundi 26 octobre 2015 - Strasbourg Edition révisée

15. Initiative citoyenne européenne (débat)
Vidéo des interventions
PV
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  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca la relazione di György Schöpflin, a nome della commissione per gli affari costituzionali, sull'iniziativa dei cittadini europei (2014/2257(INI)) (A8-0284/2015).

 
  
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  György Schöpflin, rapporteur. Mr President, I would like to begin by thanking the shadow rapporteurs with whom I worked together on this report on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). Cooperation was exemplary and, a pleasant surprise for me, the vote in the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) was unanimous. I hardly have to note how rare this unanimity is and that is in itself a message, an indication that the ECI is properly regarded as a key instrument in the framework of the institutional structure of the European Union.

Now the underlying idea is both straightforward and subtle. The citizens of Europe should have the means to launch legislative initiatives on issues of concern at the European level. Everyone is aware of the reality of the remoteness between the EU and its citizens, and the ECI is one way of bridging it. Let me add here immediately that the right of legislative initiative by citizens does not undermine the representative democracy that is the core value of any democratic system – ourselves in other words. No, the ECI enhances European democracy by introducing a form of civic action that communicates in parallel with what we are doing.

Nor is the ECI a form of direct democracy where citizens foregather to take legislative action. That may have worked in the classical Greek city states but is nonsense when 500 million citizens are involved.

What the ECI can do is to adopt a single issue and mobilise a sufficient number of individuals in a form of collective action. The mobilisatory element should not be underestimated. The process of collecting a million signatures in a year demands organisational skills, enthusiasm and commitment to doing something political in Europe. From that perspective the ECI is a way of bringing citizens into the European political field in an unmediated fashion.

Ultimately there will always be some tension between the politics of representation and political involvement from below. The idea that a given number of citizens can act together on a single issue of concern adds something new to the political palette of Europe and, let it be noted, is already available as a form of political action in some EU Member States. What differentiates the European political field from that of a Member State is that legislation is initiated by the Commission. The ECI changes this by adding the citizens to those with the right of launching legislation. This shift therefore changes the equation in European politics by adding a new actor.

So much for the underlying theory behind the ECI; practice to date has not really fulfilled the promise of the instrument. Over 50 initiatives have been organised and none, not one, has reached the statute book. By anyone’s failure criteria this is 100%. Indeed, in my consultations with civil society I have detected a clear sense of disappointment with the way in which the Commission has handled the ECIs that it has received. There have been complaints of bureaucratic dilatoriness – the ‘insolence of office’, the ‘law’s delay’, to quote Shakespeare – and a general sense that while the Commission has dealt with the instrument with complete correctness legally, it has rather missed the political point, that of civic involvement.

So the burden of my report is intended to address these shortcomings and to urge the Commission to respond to the voice of the citizens with greater flexibility than hitherto. I have every hope that the promised reform of the ECI will make it a genuinely effective instrument.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission. I very much welcome today’s discussion on the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) and I welcome György Schöpflin’s report, which I think is an excellent contribution. This is a good basis for me to discuss something that already came up during my hearing and that is something we really want to build on.

We, the Juncker Commission, have said that we would act on big things and concentrate our efforts there. That is what we do, but we also need to change how we do it. In that context, I believe the ECI can be a valuable contribution. It is a tool with which citizens can directly try to influence policy. It allows citizens to influence the agenda at European level and to bring to the fore the concrete issues which most concern them. It is therefore a tool to initiate political dialogue. As a member of the European Convention, when I represented the Dutch Parliament, I was myself involved in the design of the Citizens’ Initiative. Today, it is part of my responsibilities to ensure that it works properly and thus works better.

It is still a young tool, but we already have some experience. Last March the Commission reported on the Initiative’s first three years. It has started to show its potential. Some 33 initiatives were registered, and collected signatures. Three successfully gathered over one million signatures each. Overall, about 6 million citizens gave their signatures – impressive numbers of people. All these efforts have succeeded in forging links among like—minded people across the continent. They helped spark genuine pan—European debates and brought new ideas into the European public space. This is promising for European participatory democracy and the emergence of a European demos.

But, at the same time, we need to work to make the Citizens’ Initiative more user—friendly. I note that several points put forward in your report, Mr Schöpflin, converge with our report’s conclusions. We are already implementing a number of these measures. Let me just mention a few.

The Commission has established a dedicated point of contact, which has already replied to around 1 200 questions in all EU languages on rules and procedures. We are also providing more specific support directly to organisers once their ECI has been registered, including on legal requirements and logistical or technical aspects. Going beyond our obligations on the regulation, we also provide ad hoc online hosting on Commission servers free of charge.

Data requirements have sometimes been flagged as an issue. Here we will continue our efforts to encourage Member States to simplify their data requirements so that all citizens can actually exercise the right to sign an ECI, should they wish to do so. We should also be open to do more if that is needed.

I am therefore here today to listen very carefully to Members’ assessment of how the instrument is working and discuss their ideas on how to improve it. The Commission takes very seriously indeed Parliament’s call for a legislative revision of the ECI Regulation. We are currently in the process of assessing the need, scope and objective for such a revision. We are collecting factual evidence and are listening widely to stakeholders.

The Commission would like to thank Parliament for its constructive approach towards improving this important tool. I would like to personally thank and congratulate Mr Schöpflin for a job very well done in analysing the implementation of the ECI, reflecting on possible improvements and building consensus across political groups and committees. He is not trying to make party political work with us; he is trying to help citizens reconnect – or, sometimes, connect for the first time – with our European level of political dialogue. I think the Commission should be prepared to do whatever is needed to make that easier, more accessible and more successful.

 
  
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  Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Verfasserin der Stellungnahme des mitberatenden Rechtsausschusses. Herr Präsident, Herr Vizepräsident der Kommission! Wir wollen und brauchen unbedingt mehr Bürgerbeteiligung am europäischen Einigungsprojekt. Deshalb ist es von fundamentaler Bedeutung, aus drei Jahren Bürgerinitiative Schlussfolgerungen zu ziehen.

Damit die Bürgerinitiative die von uns gewollte Wirkung entfalten kann, bedarf es mehr als Schönheitskorrekturen. Notwendig ist in der Tat eine Generalüberholung der EBI-Verordnung. Die Organisatoren von Bürgerinitiativen brauchen umfassende Unterstützung, inklusive Rechtsberatung durch entsprechende Anlaufstellen in den Mitgliedsstaaten.

Sie müssen nach der Registrierung ihrer EBI selbst entscheiden können, wann sie die Kampagne starten. Die Unterschrift für eine Bürgerinitiative sollte in keinem Land mehr an die Abgabe einer persönlichen Identifikationsnummer gekoppelt sein. Und, Herr Vizepräsident der Kommission, wir brauchen ein klares Signal an die jungen Menschen. Sie sollten überall in der EU mit sechzehn Jahren eine Bürgerinitiative unterstützen dürfen.

Der Bericht, der dem Parlament vorliegt, ist sehr gut, und ich hoffe, dass die die Kommission in der Tat unsere Vorschläge schnell aufgreift, denn, Herr Timmermans, die Bürgerinitiative muss jetzt raus aus den Kinderschuhen, sie muss zu einem wirklich bürgerfreundlichen Instrument werden.

 
  
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  Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, ponente de opinión de la Comisión de Peticiones. Señor Presidente, señor Vicepresidente, la iniciativa ciudadana europea —el primer instrumento de democracia participativa transnacional— fue creada para permitir a los ciudadanos europeos entablar un contacto directo con las instituciones e influir con sus propuestas en la gobernanza de la Unión.

Tres años después de su puesta en marcha, lo que nos dicen los datos es que no ha funcionado como debería. Y, como lo que no funciona hay que arreglarlo, pedimos a la Comisión que proceda a revisarla de forma inmediata.

Las herramientas deben servir para el fin para el que fueron concebidas. Los usuarios deben tener todas las facilidades y el soporte para utilizarlas. Tenemos que armonizar los distintos requisitos nacionales y simplificar la documentación requerida, incluso planteando un sistema de identificación común. Y, sin duda, debemos establecer una ventanilla única aprovechando las sedes y el personal de las instituciones europeas ya existentes en cada Estado miembro.

Pero, además, desde mi Grupo, ALDE, consideramos que la iniciativa ciudadana europea debe servir para modificar aspectos de Derecho primario. Es necesario proceder a una revisión completa cuanto antes y abordar los problemas, porque mejorando la iniciativa ciudadana europea mejoraremos la democracia.

 
  
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  Pál Csáky, a PPE képviselőcsoport nevében. Úgy gondolom, hogy a polgári kezdeményezés tárgyában a mostani jelentés komoly mérföldkő, nem véletlenül foglalkozott vele három szakbizottság. Érezhető az is, hogy a Parlament rálátása a kérdésre eltér a Bizottságétól. Mi a polgári kezdeményezést talán pozitívabban értékeljük, az eddigi alkalmazást viszont egyértelműen kritikusabban szemléljük. Örülök azonban annak is, hogy az elmúlt hónapok vitái során közeledtek az álláspontok. Ezt a Petíciós Bizottság alelnökeként is nagyra értékelem és méltányolom. A ránk váró munka során figyelnünk kell arra, hogy az intézményi egyensúly biztosított legyen a kezdeményezésekkel kapcsolatos döntéshozatali folyamatokban.

Bízom abban is, hogy az Európai Unió Bírósága előtt lévő ügyekben a bíróság választ ad majd arra a dilemmára, ami köztünk, illetőleg a Bizottság között van, hogy az Európai Bizottság a kezdeményezések elfogadhatóságára vonatkozó szabályokat túl mereven alkalmazta-e. És végezetül kedves Timmermans alelnök úr, szeretném a Bizottságot nagyvonalúságra kérni. Jó lenne, ha a közeljövőben újabb sikeres polgári kezdeményezésekről számolhatnánk be.

 
  
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  Mercedes Bresso, a nome del gruppo S&D. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, innanzitutto anch'io voglio ringraziare il relatore, l'onorevole Schöpflin, perché ha fatto un ottimo lavoro, tant'è vero che la relazione è stata votata all'unanimità, e la nostra relatrice ombra Sylvia Kaufmann, per l'impegno che mette da molto tempo su questo tema.

Vicepresidente Timmermans, noi abbiamo preso atto con molto piacere dell'impegno che lei ha espresso a nome della Commissione. Però non c'è dubbio che questi primi tre anni hanno dimostrato molte difficoltà nel funzionamento concreto dell'iniziativa. In particolare vorrei ricordare che occorre rendere più chiara la procedura: non la procedura per la registrazione, ma come concretamente fanno i gruppi di cittadini a valutare la possibilità di ottenere la registrazione presentando un'iniziativa che sia coerente con i trattati.

In secondo luogo, occorre facilitare la raccolta, e qui noi abbiamo proposto tutta una serie di punti che se accolti possono rendere più semplice la raccolta e quindi favorire le iniziative dei cittadini: l'età, le modalità di deposito, i tempi separati tra la registrazione e l'inizio della raccolta, le firme online... sono molte cose. Poi però c'è un punto fondamentale, ed è quello della proposta della Commissione. Ed è su questo che noi ci aspettiamo un maggior impegno della Commissione: una proposta. Se la registrazione c'è e le firme ci sono, ci deve essere la proposta da parte delle istituzioni europee.

 
  
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  Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski, w imieniu grupy ECR. Dziękuję, panie Przewodniczący! Dziękujemy panu posłowi Schöpflinowi – nie tylko za to, że zbudował konsensus, ale przede wszystkim dlatego, że od razu przedstawił taki projekt sprawozdania, który ma na celu ożywienie instytucji. Od razu zaobserwowaliśmy w pierwszej fazie, że propozycje wysunięte przez posła sprawozdawcę służyły likwidacji biurokratycznych ograniczeń, wszystkiemu temu, co służy dobrej realizacji instytucji, i także w sprawozdaniu znajdują się te rozwiązania, które dotyczą punktów najbardziej czułych.

I trzeba o nich powiedzieć. To jest przede wszystkim pytanie do Komisji Europejskiej: czy będzie gotowa do zredukowania własnej arbitralności, do ograniczenia własnej arbitralności, bo to jest istota rzeczy? To, co spotkało inicjatywę One of Us – popartą przez ogromne rzesze obywateli, a odrzuconą przez Komisję Europejską – nie powinno dziać się w przyszłości. Uważam, że każda inicjatywa poparta wymaganą ilością podpisów powinna być przedmiotem realnych prac ustawodawczych. I wielkie pytanie do Komisji Europejskiej: czy na ten apel zawarty w sprawozdaniu odpowie w postaci nowego projektu nowelizującego rozporządzenie w sprawie inicjatywy europejskiej, gdyż będzie to prawdziwy test?

Sprawozdanie jest bardzo dobre – raz jeszcze dziękuję panu posłowi sprawozdawcy – ale teraz decyzja należy do Komisji. Dalszy ciąg należy do Komisji. Apeluję również o to, by to prawo polityczne było realne, a nie fikcyjne. Dziękuję bardzo.

 
  
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  Charles Goerens, au nom du groupe ALDE. Monsieur le Président, l'initiative citoyenne européenne est un des moyens les plus innovateurs du traité de Lisbonne pour revaloriser la légitimité démocratique de l'Union européenne. En effet, qui ne se réjouirait pas d'une implication plus poussée du citoyen dans les affaires européennes? Cela étant, nous jugeons opportun, au bout d'une période de quatre années, d'en évaluer le fonctionnement, sans pour autant remettre en question le principe même de l'initiative européenne. En effet, nombre d'initiatives se sont heurtées à des obstacles divers au point de devoir abandonner leur projet pour de bon.

Notre collègue Schöpflin a bien rendu compte du travail de la commission des affaires constitutionnelles, et je tiens à l'en féliciter. La commission des affaires constitutionnelles a été pour ainsi dire unanime dans sa volonté d'apporter des améliorations au fonctionnement de l'initiative citoyenne. Nous appuyons les propositions tendant à alléger les procédures. Dans le même ordre d'idées, il nous paraîtrait judicieux de voir la Commission enregistrer seulement la partie d'une initiative entrant dans le champ de ses compétences et de transmettre la ou les parties restantes aux autorités compétentes, nationales ou régionales.

Si nous partageons l'essentiel des vues exprimées par le rapporteur, nous aimerions préciser cependant, en tant que groupe ALDE, que la Commission devrait admettre également des initiatives qui concernent le droit primaire de l'Union européenne. De ce point de vue, il saute aux yeux que le fonctionnement de l'Union européenne est souvent paralysé par les limites que lui impose le traité. La Commission, disposant du droit d'initier un changement de traité, pourrait ainsi devenir dépositaire de propositions émanant des citoyens européens. À cette fin, nous avons déposé, avec le groupe des Verts, un amendement visant à étendre l'initiative citoyenne aux questions touchant au traité.

 
  
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  Barbara Spinelli, a nome del gruppo GUE/NGL. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, l'Unione ha scoperto la democrazia partecipativa dopo una crisi: il "no" dell'Irlanda al trattato di Nizza. L'iniziativa dei cittadini, ora nei trattati, fu una risposta a quella crisi. Oggi la crisi si è aggravata e la democrazia partecipativa è moribonda. Nessuna iniziativa che ha raccolto firme sufficienti è stata seguita da azioni legali.

La relazione Schöpflin non è perfetta, non permette purtroppo di modificare i trattati, ma ha raccolto l'unanimità in commissione AFCO perché facilita di molto il follow-up giuridico delle iniziative. Chiedo solennemente a questo Parlamento di non votare l'emendamento 4 al paragrafo 30, che trasformerebbe l'ICE in un arco senza frecce. Lo chiedo specialmente ai socialisti che l'hanno presentato. L'emendamento esige che la Commissione proponga un atto legislativo a favore di un'ICE coronata di successo, ma solo dopo aver emesso un parere positivo. Fino ad oggi 29 iniziative su 49 sono state ammesse, 3 hanno ottenuto le firme, solo quella sul diritto all'acqua ha ottenuto un vago parere positivo, nessuna ha avuto seguito.

Il Commissario Malmström ha risposto alle petizioni contro il TTIP dicendo: "non ricevo il mio mandato dal popolo europeo". Vorrei sapere anche da lei, caro Vicepresidente Timmermans, da chi, a questo punto, la Commissione ha ricevuto il mandato.

 
  
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  Josep-Maria Terricabras, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. Mr President, the Greens/EFA Group has taken part with interest, even with enthusiasm, in the reform of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) since we believe that this is an important tool of correction between European Union citizens and their institutions, which much too often are considered distant and arrogant.

The final result of the report, shared by my colleague and friend György Schöpflin, is in general terms good. It includes elements of renovation. No wonder that it was unanimously approved in our meeting of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO).

In spite of this positive view, I have to mention a point which should have deserved more courage from all of us. I am referring to the necessary amelioration of the follow–up to any successful ECI after its submission. This would be a clear signal of our readiness to reinforce also the European initiatives. This follow–up demands that steps forward be taken, preparing corresponding legal acts in agreement, of course, with the principles and rules of the Commission and Parliament.

There are some amendments which have been presented and which do not, in my opinion, express with enough clarity the goal we would all like to achieve. If I am completely honest, I have to say that those amendments run to some extent in the opposite direction to what is demanded and has to be achieved. That is why our Group has presented its own amendments with the intention of giving the Commission and this House the opportunity to play a major and positive role in the undertaking of those who, moved by democratic impulses, try to construct a better, friendlier, closer Europe. I still hope that our amendments can win the approval of a majority of our colleagues.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo, a nome del gruppo EFDD. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ICE: una parola, tante aspettative – tante aspettative per il principale strumento di democrazia diretta introdotto dal trattato di Lisbona, un pilastro fondamentale per il Movimento 5 stelle.

I colleghi hanno ricordato il numero delle iniziative avviate, di cui soltanto tre sono state dichiarate ricevibili. Questo per difficoltà e lungaggini burocratiche, mancanza di informazioni, mancanza di uniformità tra gli Stati membri, anche per i dati raccolti, la corretta individuazione della base giuridica.

Bene, questa relazione dà delle risposte importanti dal punto di vista logistico, e mi congratulo con il relatore György Schöpflin, però dobbiamo fare dei passi più importanti, dei passi politici. E i passi politici sono risolvere il conflitto d'interessi della Commissione, che si trova ad essere da un lato il soggetto che ha il check legale di ammissibilità e dall'altro lo stesso soggetto che decide se dare un seguito o meno a un'ICE, una volta che ha completato il suo percorso.

Dare un seguito non può essere un optional, deve essere un obbligo se vogliamo dare credibilità alle istituzioni e avvicinarle ai cittadini. Non si possono vanificare i loro sforzi, la loro sete di democrazia. Inoltre bisogna salvare questa volontà permettendole anche di azionare una revisione dei trattati mediante l'ICE. Uscire dall'immobilismo dell'UE per ridare impulso e slancio: i popoli possono farlo, i cittadini possono farlo, per ridare corpo al sogno dei padri fondatori – altro che le parole della Commissaria Malmström!

 
  
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  Gerolf Annemans, namens de ENF-Fractie. Zelfs als het Europees burgerinitiatief perfect zou functioneren, kan niet worden verwacht dat daarmee het democratisch deficit wordt opgelost dat zo kenmerkend is voor de Europese Unie. Ik ondersteun het principe en de geest van dit initiatief, niet dus vanwege de zogenaamde Europese integratiegedachte maar wel omdat het een middel is om de aandacht van de Europese Commissie en de Europese verkozenen te vestigen op bepaalde thema's en grote of kleine maatschappelijke problemen.

In het meer dan verdienstelijke verslag-Schöpflin wordt vastgesteld dat het succes van het Europees burgerinitiatief tanende is. Daarbij wordt de vinger op de wonde gelegd. Veel initiatieven sneuvelen en de enkele initiatieven die de complexiteit van de procedure overleven, krijgen geen vervolg op wetgevend vlak. Daarom pleit onze fractie niet alleen voor het opruimen van praktische obstakels en het gebruiksvriendelijk maken van het initiatiefinstrument, maar ook voor een verplichting voor de Commissie om op een succesvol Europees burgerinitiatief een passend voorstel te laten volgen. In die zin dienen wij dan ook onze amendementen in.

 
  
  

VORSITZ: RAINER WIELAND
Vizepräsident

 
  
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  Zoltán Balczó (NI). Az Európai Polgári Kezdeményezés lenne az az eszköz, amely biztosítaná, hogy a polgárok közvetlenül részt vehessenek az uniós döntéshozatalban. Ez az eszköz azonban nagyon gyenge. Egymillió aláírással azt lehet elérni, hogy az adott kérdésben a Bizottság benyújtson egy javaslatot. 51 kezdeményezésből 3 sikerült és ebből sincs jogszabály. A jelentéstevő megpróbálja javítani ezt a rendszert. Ez azonban ma már kevés. A migránskrízis azt bizonyította, hogy az Unió politikai elitje – tisztelet a kivételnek – milyen messze van saját lakosságának a véleményétől. Közvélemény-kutatások sokasága bizonyítja, hogy mennyire másként látja a lakosság ezt a fontos kérdést, mint a döntéshozó politikai elit. Ezért az európai uniós népszavazás intézményének a bevezetésére lenne szükség. Ez jelentené az igazi, közvetlen demokráciát.

(A felszólaló hozzájárul egy, az eljárási szabályzat 162. cikkének (8) bekezdése értelmében feltett kék kártyás kérdés megválaszolásához).

 
  
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  David Coburn (EFDD), blue-card question. I would just like to ask a simple question to see if you agree with me. Do you agree that, if people in this House can make no dent in terms of having an initiative or things pushed through this Parliament, how in the name of goodness are ordinary citizens able to do this? This is just a waste of time. Would you agree with me, Sir?

 
  
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  Zoltán Balczó (NI), Kékkártyás válasz. A kérdése arra vonatkozik, hogy ha mi itt nem tudunk valamit átvinni, vajon időpocséklás-e a lakosság közvetlen döntéshozatalát megadni? Nem időpocsékolás, ha mi ennek egy olyan világos és döntéshozatalra alkalmas keretét teremtjük meg, amely nem olyan, mint a most tárgyalt polgári kezdeményezés. Ahogy esetleg az Ön országában is létezik olyan népszavazás, amely konkrét döntést hoz, ennek az eszközrendszerét kellene megtalálni az Európai Unióban.

 
  
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  Dubravka Šuica (PPE). Gospodine predsjedniče, Lisabonskim je sporazumom omogućena europska građanska inicijativa i ja smatram da nasuprot gospodinu Coburnu, smatram da je to jedna jako dobra inicijativa koja omogućuje građanima da se direktno uključe.

Naravno, znamo da je bilo 33 pokrenute, da ih je 15 registrirano, 15 pokrenuto, da su samo 3 doživjele svjetlo dana u ovom Parlamentu i da ni jedna od njih nije završila s pozitivnim rezultatom. Zato se zahvaljujem gospodinu Schöpflinu na ovom radu koji je na ovom dosjeu napravio. Vjerujem da će Komisija možda shvatiti i postati propulzivnija, da će omogućiti da se lakše prikupljaju potpisi, da se lakše registriraju potpisi i da ćemo ovom inicijativom potaknuti Europsku komisiju na djelovanje.

Smatram da je ovo jedan vrlo važan instrument. Postoji kao oblik političkog djelovanja u nekim državama članicama, ali treba uskladiti nacionalno zakonodavstvo i učiniti europsku građansku inicijativu pozitivnom i propulzivnom.

 
  
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  Claudia Tapardel (S&D). Democrația directă, pe model atenian, nu este atât de arhaică cum s-ar putea crede. Inițiativa cetățenească europeană aș putea spune că este unealta noastră modernă pentru a crește participarea cetățenilor la procesul decizional. 51 de inițiative au fost depuse, însumând nu mai puțin de șase milioane de cetățeni europeni implicați, informați și dispuși să lupte pentru a schimba Europa în care trăiesc.

Totuși, nu trebuie să întreținem o imagine falsă. Doar trei inițiative au fost considerate admisibile și nici măcar una nu a produs legislație aplicabilă până în prezent. Acum, ceea ce trebuie să facem este să creștem rata de succes a acestor inițiative. Astfel, prin upgradarea sistemului online de colectare a semnăturilor și prin creșterea gradului de conștientizare publică a problemelor, putem să sporim rata de succes.

În plus, soluția o reprezintă tinerii. Tinerii sunt mai conștienți de societatea în care trăiesc decât credem noi. Participarea acestora la procesul decizional ar putea să fie surpriza plăcută pe care generația tânără o face Europei. De aceea, susțin reducerea vârstei-limită de participare de la 18 ani, cât este în prezent, la 16 ani.

Putem să transformăm experiența trecutului în succesul viitorului, inclusiv prin folosirea potențialului tinerilor de a participa activ și decisiv la procesul decizional european.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς ( ECR). Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η Ευρωπαϊκή Πρωτοβουλία Πολιτών, που θεσπίστηκε με τη Συνθήκη της Λισαβόνας, αποτελεί σημαντική κατάκτηση των λαών της Ευρώπης και ενισχύει τη συμμετοχική δημοκρατία στο πλαίσιο της Ένωσης. Ταυτόχρονα, αποτελεί μια μορφή πλατιάς συνεργασίας των πολιτών και των κινημάτων, σε πανενωσιακό επίπεδο, ενισχύοντας έτσι τους δεσμούς αλληλεγγύης και κοινωνικής δράσης. Ως συντονιστής του ECR στην Επιτροπή Αναφορών έχω επανειλημμένα επισημάνει τις αδυναμίες του υφιστάμενου νομικού πλαισίου του κανονισμού 11/79, του 2011, που πρέπει να τροποποιηθεί προκειμένου:

1) να διασφαλιστεί η ευρύτερη δυνατή συμμετοχή των πολιτών, ιδίως στην παρούσα περίοδο της οικονομικής κρίσης,

2) να ενισχυθεί η διαφάνεια και αποτελεσματικότητα.

Πρέπει λοιπόν όλοι να αντιληφθούν ότι η Ευρωπαϊκή Πρωτοβουλία Πολιτών συνιστά πρωτογενή άσκηση της ίδιας της δημοκρατικής λειτουργίας, που θα μπορούσε να αξιοποιηθεί από τους πολίτες και τα κινήματα του ευρωπαϊκού Νότου για τη δημιουργία ενός πλατιού μετώπου ενάντια στη λιτότητα και στη φτώχια, ενάντια στην ασυδοσία της Ευρωπαϊκής Κεντρικής Τράπεζας και της Ευρώπης των τραπεζών, και εμείς οι αντιμνημονιακοί πολίτες θα αναλάβουμε σχετική πρωτοβουλία στο ζήτημα αυτό.

 
  
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  Pascal Durand (Verts/ALE). Monsieur le Président, Monsieur Timmermans, en 2009, le traité de Lisbonne a essayé de créer un lien direct entre les citoyens et l'Europe. La réalité nous oblige à reconnaître que c'est un échec total. Cela a été dit tout à l'heure, on parle de cinquante-et-une, en vérité, il y en a eu cinquante-trois – deux nouvelles initiatives ont été déposées en octobre. Cinquante-trois initiatives en réalité, trois qui ont plus d'un million de citoyens qui les soutiennent, et rien ne se passe derrière. Rien!

Alors, j'ai quand même un problème, parce que les citoyens ne sont pas plus idiots que les commissaires ou que nous-mêmes, donc il y a bien un moment où ils sentent que ce qu'ils font ne sert à rien. Ces campagnes nécessitent une énergie considérable, des budgets considérables. Les citoyens y croient, ils se sont investis, or que voient-ils? Ils voient que désormais, plus rien ne marche, et nous sommes passés d'un grand nombre d'initiatives à un nombre désormais ridicule. Alors, écoutez, je crois qu'il faut être clair: vous avez une possibilité, vous avez une alternative, soit vous donnez des actes législatifs, soit ...

(Le Président retire la parole à l'orateur)

 
  
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  Milan Zver (PPE). Rad bi se zahvalil poslancu Schöpflinu za odlično poročilo o evropski državljanski pobudi, ki državljanom omogoča sooblikovanje evropske zakonodaje pod seveda znanimi pogoji.

Poročilo poskuša izboljšati delovanje tega novega izvirnega instrumenta evropske demokracije, ki v dobršni meri zmanjšuje demokratični deficit. Poročilo predlaga odpravo nekaterih ovir, ki delajo težave predvsem organizatorjem pobud.

Evropska civilna družba se je na uveljavitev evropske državljanske pobude odzvala presenetljivo pozitivno. V treh letih, to smo že danes večkrat slišali, se jih je nabralo čez 50, vendar je neuspešna Komisija, saj je le tri pobude označila za dopustne, a niti eni sami pobudi do zdaj še ni sledil zakonodajni predlog. To seveda ni prav.

Danes je demokracija ranljiva. Pojavljajo se teze o vsesplošni neučinkovitosti demokracije in ocene o njenem zatonu. Jaz pa menim, da tovrstne neposredne oblike soodločanja delajo evropsko demokracijo vitalnejšo, poleg tega krepi inštitut evropskega državljana in mobilizira civilno družbo.

Zato podpiram poziv iz poročila poslanca Schöpflina, da morajo institucije Evropske unije in države članice spodbujati evropsko državljansko pobudo ter s tem krepiti zaupanje državljanov v ta instrument. Z neodzivnostjo evropskih institucij seveda ne bo šlo.

 
  
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  Marlene Mizzi (S&D). Sur President, "The European Citizens' Initiative" hija l-ewwel għodda li tagħti setgħa liċ-ċittadin li jieħu rwol attiv fit-tfassil tal-politika tal-Unjoni Ewropea. B'hekk iċ-ċittadin qed jingħata opportunità li jkun fuq l-istess livell kemm tal-Parlament Ewropew, tal-Kummissjoni kif ukoll tal-Kunsill Ewropew, istituzzjonijiet li normalment jidhru ferm remoti għaċ-ċittadini tagħna.

Din l-għodda hija fundamentali biex tipprovdi liċ-ċittadini Ewropej l-opportunità li jsawru direttament il-futur politiku tal-Ewropa. Inqisuh bħala appell dirett mill-poplu lill-Unjoni Ewropea, li għal darb'oħra jgħaqqad l-Ewropa maċ-ċittadini. Almenu dak hu l-iskop.

Iżda r-realtà, sfortunatament, hija kemmxejn differenti. Ammont sostanzjali ta' inizjattivi ġew rifjutati jew, agħar minn hekk, kellhom iħabbtu wiċċhom ma' ostakli legali u burokratiċi fejn il-poplu qed jiġi skoraġġut li juża din l-għodda u b'hekk qed jaqta' qalbu mill-politika Ewropea. Dan mgħandux ikun.

Hemm bżonn li nirranġaw il-proċess tas-"Citizens Initiative" sabiex kemm jista' jkun ikun aktar citizen friendly u niżguraw li jilħaq il-potenzjal sħiħ - dik ta' parteċipazzjoni attiva u inklużiva taċ-ċittadini.

 
  
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  Arne Gericke (ECR). Herr Präsident, sehr geehrter Herr Kommissar Timmermans! Seit etwas mehr als einem Jahr bin ich Europaabgeordneter, zuständig für den Wahlkreis Deutschland. Wann immer es geht, bin ich unterwegs zwischen Aachen und Görlitz, zwischen Flensburg und Oberammergau. Oft höre ich: Sie sind der erste Europaabgeordnete, der sich wirklich für uns interessiert, Europa ist sonst so weit weg, was sollen wir schon verändern. Mit jedem dieser Gespräche wird mir klarer: Europa braucht die direkte Demokratie, Europa braucht die Einbindung seiner Bürger. Wir müssen Demokratie wagen!

Umso mehr freut es mich, dass wir heute darüber diskutieren, angestoßen durch eine Kampagne, angestoßen durch 70 000 europäische Bürger. Danke dafür! Ihr Aufruf ist klar: Die Europäische Bürgerinitiative muss einfacher, unbürokratischer und wirkungsvoller werden. Halten Sie die Bürger bitte nicht für blöd! Sie einzubinden, dann aber zu sagen: Ganz nett, aber umsetzen werden wir nichts. Das geht nicht! Deshalb mein Appell: Wagen wir Demokratie, schaffen wir das Europäische Volksbegehren, und das nicht nur alle fünf Jahre bei den Europawahlen.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye-Verfahren

 
  
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  Anna Záborská (PPE) Som veľmi rada, že pán spravodajca Schöpflin vo svojej správe zhrnul množstvo nedostatkov Európskej občianskej iniciatívy. Pretože len ak sa podarí tieto nedostatky odstrániť, bude mať iniciatíva šancu stať sa fungujúcim nástrojom demokracie. Spôsob, akým Komisia zmietla zo stola občiansku iniciatívu Jeden z nás – One of us zostáva pre mňa a ďalšie dva milióny občanov obrovským sklamaním. Odhalenia, ktoré ukázali obchodovanie s orgánmi potratených detí a ich používanie na výskumy, potvrdzujú riziko financovania takýchto pokusov z rozpočtu Európskej únie. Ignorovaním hlasu občanov Komisia nevyužila odmietnutie takéhoto financovania a ignorovala aj rozhodnutie Európskeho súdneho dvora v Luxemburgu.

 
  
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  Ramón Jáuregui Atondo (S&D). Señor Presidente, Señorías, yo creo que hay tres conclusiones que se pueden establecer en este debate: primera, la iniciativa ciudadana es muy importante para la participación democrática; segunda, la ley actual no funciona; tercera, la tenemos que mejorar. Hasta ahí estamos de acuerdo.

Yo quería sugerir al señor Timmermans una solución que me parece interesante desde el punto de vista político para lo que puede ser la reforma de la iniciativa, cual es la de establecer que, a aquellas iniciativas que alcanzan un millón de firmas pero que no son admitidas por cuestiones competenciales o por otras razones legales, se les dé una respuesta institucional. Yo creo que no podemos dejar en el olvido una iniciativa que tenga tal capacidad de convocatoria y que, por una cuestión formal o legal, no pueda tener un seguimiento.

Mi propuesta es que haya respuesta de la Comisión, aunque sea remitiendo a otras iniciativas o aunque sea a la espera de otras reformas legales, pero que haya una respuesta institucional.

 
  
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  Branislav Škripek (ECR). Mr President, we have discussed the ECI several times in official and unofficial debates. Since 2012 we have had this instrument in European politics, and the number of successful initiatives demonstrates its success – or, better to say, failure – as not one led to a legislative process.

I advocate the ECI in this House, and I am happy to welcome the suggestion of a rapporteur to make this tool more accessible for the European citizens – but I think it is not enough.

Mr Commissioner, I ask you please to explain to citizens the lack of transparency in this matter. How come the institution responsible for it also checks the admissibility, and not a neutral body? Will the Commission finally start sending proper reasons for all ECIs which were refused in the past or revise the decisions on those ECIs where the Commission does not have proper reasons? Or is it a question of political correctness – my question – when almost 2 million citizens speak for not killing children before natural birth, or is this not welcomed any more? Will you restore trust in the ECI?

 
  
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  João Ferreira (GUE/NGL). Senhor Presidente, quiseram a enfeitar o Tratado de Lisboa com este floreado democrático, quiseram dar-lhe a aparência daquilo que ele não é: algo conforme com a democracia, com a vontade e com a participação dos povos. A chamada Iniciativa Europeia de cidadãos constituiu, desde o início, uma pueril mas também perversa tentativa de legitimação de todo um edifício profundamente e estruturalmente antidemocrático.

Não esqueçamos que o tratado que consagrou esta iniciativa fugiu ostensivamente ao escrutínio dos povos através de referendos, e foi aprovado e ratificado nas costas dos cidadãos cuja participação diz querer acolher. Seis anos decorridos, é evidente o descrédito em que caiu este instrumento, dito de democracia participativa. Mais de meia centena de tentativas, e apenas três lograram cumprir os rígidos parâmetros para caber naquilo que definiram como a participação cidadã. Mesmo essas estão na gaveta da Comissão, sabe-se lá até quando, como a iniciativa da água pública.

 
  
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  Igor Šoltes (Verts/ALE). Državljanska pobuda je instrument za neposredno izražanje in uveljavljanje demokracije in številne neuspešne pobude, kot smo slišali danes, in seveda tudi nereagiranje Komisije na uspešne pobude med državljani lahko povzročijo zmedo in tudi razočaranje nad institucijami EU.

Državljani upravičeno pričakujejo, da to, kar je zapisano, tudi deluje. Če je to zapisano v Lizbonski pogodbi kot oblika demokracije, naj se seveda tudi uporablja. Treba je, kot smo že slišali, narediti še večje politične korake glede dopustnosti te pobude in bolj jasno določiti postopkovna pravila vložitve pobude.

Pravila morajo biti jasna, sicer ne delujejo, in če to ni dorečeno, potem tudi ta državljanska pobuda samo navidezno nakazuje možnost uveljavljanja neposredne demokracije.

 
  
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  Jonathan Arnott (EFDD). Mr President, the words ‘citizens’ initiative’ sound brilliant, do they not? The idea, in principle, is of more democracy, more power going from us, the often untrusted politicians, back to the people. But the rapporteur is right: it has not yet worked. Just 3 out of 51 initiatives so far have been declared even admissible. I would love for every Member State to have a proper democratic right for citizens to get new legislation onto their statute books. I had to travel today through Switzerland to get here, and actually outside the European Union Switzerland leads the way. It is not just that public petitions are considered, but the people get to have a proper say in a referendum too. What an incredible example of a proper direct democracy Switzerland shows to us all. I believe that every country of the European Union could learn from the example of Switzerland.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (ENF). Herr Präsident! Dem Institut der Europäischen Bürgerinitiative liegt zwar die gute Idee zugrunde, die Unionsbürger in die Gesetzgebung einzubinden, doch wie bei Vielem in der Union bleibt es bisher bei vollmundigen Versprechen. Seit drei Jahren gibt es das Institut, 51 Initiativen liegen vor, und noch keine Initiative führte tatsächlich zu einem Rechtsetzungsverfahren, nicht einmal die gute, hervorragende Initiative gegen TTIP.

Nun, Herr Kommissar, was soll sich der EU-Bürger da denken? So halte ich auch den vorliegenden Entwurf, den Versuch, den EU-Bürgern ein benutzerfreundliches Instrument zu geben und kleine Hürden abzubauen, für reine Augenwischerei, für einen untauglichenVersuch. Er soll nur der Union ein demokratisches Feigenblatt geben und ist in der Praxis vollkommen zahnlos.

Ich sage daher: Diese Initiative, so wie sie jetzt ist, ist ein reines Placebo. Aber, Herr Kommissar, die Bürger werden sich nicht weiter für dumm verkaufen lassen.

 
  
 

(Ende des Catch-the-eye-Verfahrens)

 
  
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  Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, let me reiterate what I said at the beginning: the Commission is prepared to work very closely with Mr Schöpflin and Parliament to see to what extent we can apply the improvements his report suggests to the Citizens’ Initiative. I look forward to working closely with Parliament to make sure that, where we can, we will improve the Initiative, and probably we will have to look at the regulation at some stage. The Commission will certainly not shy away from doing that if it is considered necessary.

At the same time, you can turn the Initiative into something it is not and then be critical of the fact that it is not what you want it to be, but it is in fact quite straightforward: it is based on the Treaty. The Treaty is something all Member States agreed on, signed and ratified in the national parliaments. We cannot go beyond the Treaty, even though it would perhaps be nice to go beyond the Treaty. The Commission is responsible for applying the rules in the Treaty, and the rules in the Treaty say that the European Citizens’ Initiative is an instrument to involve citizens in dialogue. It is not an initiative to give citizens the right of initiative in legal matters: that is a different animal. If you are not happy with that animal, fine, but do not accuse the animal of not being what you want it to be. It was intended to be an addition to representative democracy, to make sure that people get involved in the debate in representative democracy, not an alternative to representative democracy. I am quite sure this Parliament would not want to put itself in an outside position and leave all that to citizens directly.

I think the deal here is that we involve citizens in a dialogue about policies. If the Commission applies the rules – and yes, it happens unfortunately quite a lot – we have to say that the initiatives taken are not within the existing rules. We can change the rules, and we will look into that. We can assist people taking initiatives in overcoming bureaucratic hurdles and other problems, and we certainly want to try to improve that. We have been trying already, and we receive all persons taking an initiative to advise them. Sometimes we also help them amend the questions, saying that if they reformulate them slightly then we can say they are within the rules. We are trying to be very cooperative with those who take initiatives, but you cannot blame the Commission for applying the rules. We would be amiss if we did not apply the rules simply because it would be nice to let people take initiatives.

I will have to be firm on this, but I want to reiterate our willingness to work closely with Mr Schöpflin and his colleagues to make sure that we improve the system. I still see a lot of potential in this instrument. It is far too easy after a relatively short period of time to dismiss the instrument because it is not what one wants it to be. Do not make it bigger than it is, but do not disqualify it before we have done everything we can to make it work better, as is the intention of Mr Schöpflin and the others who supported him in making the report.

 
  
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  György Schöpflin, rapporteur. Mr President, I would like to thank everybody who has taken part in this constructive debate. I think everyone has been constructive, perhaps with one or two exceptions. I am particularly grateful for the supportive words from Vice-President Timmermans.

There are some issues, which I think have some saliency, that I would like to pick up on (I cannot, obviously, do a summary of everything that has been said). I think the point made by Mr Goerens about the revalorisation of democratic legitimacy is something that we must think about very seriously. Connecting the citizens has come up in a fair number of contributions. Then there is the follow-up problem, on which others spoke (Mr Terricabras notably).

Nobody knows this, but actually I have a very old and very rusty degree in law, and one of the things I take away from this is that when it comes to legal regulations applying the rules – to quote Mr Timmermans – there is always some leeway in how one interprets these things. Here I would like to call for more flexibility: apply the rules but, where there is a grey area, think about the million people who have been involved.

Finally, three short issues. Treaty change has come up: my own take on this is that yes, Treaty change will happen one day, but not in connection with the ECI, so primary law is not really a part of this. Secondly, as I understand it at the moment, an ECI can call on the Commission to act in particular ways, but as things stand cannot interdict legislation. This could well be reconsidered. Certainly, that is the input I have had from civil society. As I understand it, ECIs cannot affect current processes, even if inputs from stakeholders are widely regarded as a viable part of policy information – and whatever the status of citizens in the European political field, they are stakeholders.

I would like to end by saying that I very much thank Mr Timmermans. As far as the ECI is concerned, the ball is in his court, and I am sure that his team will do everything to make it viable.

 
  
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  Der Präsident. – Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung findet am Mittwoch, 28. Oktober 2015, statt.

Schriftliche Erklärungen (Artikel 162 GO)

 
  
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  József Nagy (PPE), írásban. A részvételi demokrácia erősítése úgy gondolom, Európa jövőjének kulcsa, a fejlődés záloga. Ha a demokrácia fejlődését nézzük, kiindulva a csak kiváltságosoknak kijáró ókori görög példából a mára elvileg mindenkit megillető közéletben való részvétel lehetőségéig, úgy gondolom, világos az út, merre van előre. Kevés elrángatni a polgárokat a választási urnákhoz. Sokkal nagyobb erőt kell a kezükbe adni, hogy szavukat hallathassák, s ha ez nem történik meg, bizony a kiábrándultság demotivációhoz fog vezetni, melynek eredményeként egyre kevesebben mennek el szavazni. Ezt a részvételi demokráciát erősítik a petíció, illetve a polgári kezdeményezés intézményei. Úgy gondolom, utóbbi szabályozásakor is világos volt a jogalkotói szándék. A rendszer mégsem működik.

Az Európai Bizottság mintha beijedt volna, hogy kényelmes bürokrata rendszerébe beleszólhatnak kívülről, s esetleg kiveszik az egyszeri polgárok a kezéből a kezdeményezés jogát. Még akkor sem tetszik neki, ha majd kétmillió ember sorakozik fel egy-egy kezdeményezés mellett, mint az a Right to Water esetében volt. Ez a helyzet tarthatatlan, s a probléma megoldása nem tűr halasztást. A késlekedéssel ugyanis egyre inkább nő a Brüsszel iránti kiábrándultság és bizalmatlanság. Bízom benne, hogy ezzel a jelentéssel konkrét lépéseket teszünk a helyes irányba.

 
  
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  Beatrix von Storch (ECR), schriftlich. Bürger an der Gestaltung von Politik und Gesetzgebung beteiligen: gewollt ist das nicht immer. In Deutschland ermöglichte maßgeblich die Zivile Koalition materiell „Einer-von-Uns“. Ich spreche aus eigener Erfahrung. Obwohl „Einer-von-uns“ als juristisch wasserfest autorisiert wurde, knickte dieselbe christdemokratische Barroso-Kommission ein Jahr später ein und verweigerte die Vorlage der eingeforderten Rechtsakte. „Einer-von-Uns“ ist nun beim EuGH anhängig (T-561/14). Zu Recht: Wird eine EBI aufgrund ihrer juristisch wasserfesten Argumentation autorisiert und werden mehr als 1 Mio. Unterschriften vorgelegt, müssen die eingeforderten Rechtsakte auch vorgelegt werden. Andernfalls führt die EU die Menschen an der Nase herum. Im konkreten Falle weigert sich die Kommission, EuGH-Rechtsprechung anzuerkennen (C-34/10: der Mensch ist ab der Befruchtung ein Mensch, und der menschliche Embryo ein menschliches Wesen). Sie setzt sich nicht mit offensichtlichen Widersprüchen ihrer eigenen Politik auseinander. Die Kommission verstößt gegen die Prozeduren, weil sie ihre Stellungnahme nicht dem EU-Parlament übermittelt. Damit wird die EU-Kommission zur Kronzeugin dafür, dass den Institutionen in Brüssel die Meinung und der Gestaltungswille der Bürger doch ziemlich egal ist. Die Juncker-Kommission wollte politischer sein als ihre Vorgängerin. Herr Timmermans: Respektieren Sie den Bürgerwillen und setzen Sie die Forderungen von „Einer-von-uns“ um! Schaffen die Sozialdemokraten, worin die Christlichen Demokraten in einem ihrer Kernthemen versagten?

 
  
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  Iuliu Winkler (PPE), în scris. ICE a fost considerată un triumf al Tratatului de la Lisabona pentru că deschidea cetățenilor europeni șansa de a deveni inițiatori de legislație și participanți activi la făurirea politicilor europene. La 3 ani de la intrarea în vigoare, acest instrument provoacă dezamăgire. Abordarea birocratică, avocățească a CE riscă să producă efectul contrar celui dorit, contribuind la îndepărtarea cetățenilor de Europa. PE a avut un rol important în promovarea legislației ICE, iar acum, din nou, PE ia inițiativa de modifica reglementarea. UE trebuie să devină o construcție politică și de aceea trebuie să fie deschisă ideilor și propunerilor cetățenilor ei. Acest imperativ trebuie înțeles de către birocrații UE, dar și de statele membre care trebuie să înlesnească întreaga procedură ICE în loc să pună piedici administrative suplimentare. Sper că Raportul Schöpflin, care conține propuneri clare de îmbunătățire a Regulamentului ICE, va fi adoptat cu largă majoritate în PE. Propunerea de amendare pe care CE trebuie să o înainteze PE și Consiliului trebuie să dovedească înțelegerea faptului că UE se află la răscruce. Ori învățăm să ascultăm vocea cetățenilor noștri și atunci vom avea succes, ori continuăm să ne îndepărtăm de cetățenii europeni, fiind, astfel destinați eșecului.

 
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