Thinking European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) inside the box: how can we improve this participatory mechanism without amending the European Treaties?

Despite the efforts to improve the usage of the ECI, experience on the side of organizers and reports from EU institutions still reveal several flaws in the ECI, what raises legit doubts concerning the capacity of the new rules to truly improve ECI’s political impact and avoid that this participative democracy tool can become obsolete. In this context, the main aim of this presentation is to analyze, from a critical perspective, how it is possible to improve ECI and its potential without the need of introducing amendments to the European Treaties. To this purpose, we will largely rely on the existing literature on the ECI and several recommendations formulated by civil society organizations and other stakeholders. Different arguments will be analyzed and evaluated through the comparison of their strong points, weak points, opportunities and threats. A set of possible measures in order to achieve a more effective development of the mechanism will be presented.