Q&A on the European Citizens' Initiative
From 1 April onwards, EU citizens will be able to ask the European Union to introduce new legislation - provided the organisers can muster one million signatures. This new tool, known as the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), is designed to give the public a more direct say over the EU.
Parliament approved the legislation in December 2010 and the Council endorsed it in February 2011. As the Member States have 12 months to put the new rules into effect in their national laws, the first initiatives can be launched in April 2012. The answers below all refer to what will happen once the rules are in place.