Crash-testing the European Citizens' Initiative: feedbacks from the basic income movement


A paper published on April 15th describes the experience of the European movement for Unconditional Basic Income with the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). It includes highlights and insights on the troubles faced by the current rules of the ECI, and provides several proposals.

It has been two years since the introduction of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), the first tool for transnational participatory and digital democracy in world history, and the European Basic Income movement was one of the first group to use this new democratic tool. To celebrate and boost its developments, The ECI Campaign has produced a new publication, “An ECI That Works!” which contains many testimonies and recommendations from organisers of ECIs, including the ECI on Unconditional Basic Income.

Entitled “Crash-testing the ECI: pains and hopes from the basic income movement” (pdf), our contribution to this important review was written by Stanislas Jourdan, French organiser of our initiative. It includes numerous insights on the History of our initiative, the problems faced using the ECI, and some recommendations on how to improve it.

One of the main difficulty traced by Stanislas Jourdan was the Online Collection System, which was judged too cumbersome by many of our signatories (and probably even more citizens’ who did not signed) ; and the cumbersome procedure to get the OCS validated by the EU Commission services in Luxembourg, which literally caused the waste of two precious months of signature collection. Despite these troubles, our ECI was denied any extension of the period of signature collection. “Extensions had been granted due to similar OCS problems to ECIs registered before 31 Oc­tober 2012. But because our ECI was registered 14 days later, we were denied an extension – which we think was an arbitrary decision.” writes Stanislas Jourdan.

Other issues such as the poor use of paper forms and the lack of possibility to propose amendments to the EU Treaty were also raised in the paper.

“In 2015, the ECI’s governing rules will be up for review by the European Parliament and Council. Therefore it is time now to open the debate, raise questions, reflect on observations and share perspectives.” writes Carsten Berg, editor of the publication. The book was presented at the ‘ECI Day’, a conference which took place at the European Economic and Social Committee last april 15th. The ECI Campaign will actively lobby the EU institutions to achieve concrete improvements of the ECI.

Unconditional Basic Income Europe welcomes the publication of this book and encourages the ECI Campaign in its efforts to make the European Citizens’ Initiative a much more efficient tool for participative democracy in Europe.

You can read the publication on