European Citizens’ Initiative: The Commission proposes to extend certain deadlines due to coronavirus pandemic

Due to coronavirus pandemic, the Commission has today proposed to adjust certain deadlines for the collection, verification and examination of European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECI). The proposed measures are temporary and aim at addressing the challenges faced by the organisers during the coronavirus outbreak, where public campaigning and paper collection of statements of support have become nearly impossible. For all the initiatives that were ongoing on 11 March 2020, the day when the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus outbreak a worldwide pandemic, the Commission proposes to extend the period for collecting statements of support by 6 months. Initiatives that started their collection after 11 March and before 11 September should benefit from “a proportionate extension”. This means that the 1 year collection period will be counted only as of 11 September, however the ECIs can start collecting signatures already before that date. The Commission can introduce further prolongations to the collection periods in case of continued application of national measures in response to the pandemic or a new outbreak. Finally, the Commission proposal allows for possible extensions up to 3 months for the verification of the initiatives, which have completed their collection process. The possibility for an extension will also exist for the examination phase. The proposed temporary measures now need to be agreed by the European Parliament and the Council. The text of the proposal is available online and more information available on the European Citizens’ Initiatives website.