Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 259

Deadline extension for European Citizens’ Initiatives approved

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 10 luglio 2020

Bruxelles. MEPs approved the changes ensuring that the EU’s participatory democracy instrument will not be unduly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
After a swift trilogue and committee approval process, the Commission proposal to extend ECI deadlines, including significant Parliament-driven improvements, was approved on Thursday with 684 votes in favour, 7 against and 3 abstentions.
The new rules retroactively extend time limits to collect, verify and examine European Citizens’ Initiatives affected by COVID-19 as follows:
• Six-month extensions will be given for the collection of statements of support for initiatives whose signature collection was ongoing on 11 March 2020. Where the collection of statements of support started between 11 March and 11 September 2020, the maximum collection period will run until 11 September 2021.
• Member states can request an extension of the verification period (by one to three months) in case they cannot complete the process in time.
• EU institutions can defer the organisation of meetings with ECI organisers (a Commission obligation, normally within one month after submission of a successful initiative) and public hearings (organised by the Parliament within three months after submission) for as soon as the public health situation allows.In case of a second wave
The Commission can further prolong applicable collection periods if the situation continues to be difficult after 11 September 2020, or if lockdown measures are reintroduced in the future. Each such extension will be for three months, with a maximum total collection period of 24 months.
On this point, Parliament successfully negotiated improvements to the original proposal: the threshold required for this kind of extension has been lowered, from a majority of member states with pandemic-related measures in place, down to a quarter – or, in any case, states representing more than 35% of the population of the Union.
MEPs also insisted that the remote participation of ECI organisers in hearings or meetings should be foreseen, at the organisers’ discretion.

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