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Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe A Spanish View Dr. Javier A. González Vega Education Counsellor.

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Presentation on theme: "Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe A Spanish View Dr. Javier A. González Vega Education Counsellor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe A Spanish View Dr. Javier A. González Vega Education Counsellor Spain’s EU REPER ( Professor of Public International Law and European Law, University of Oviedo) Reception to TEAM Study Tour Spain’s REPER, Brussels, April 7th 2010

2 Summary 1.The European identity: a view from the citizens 2.The European Citizenship 3.Lisbon Treaty Innovations to enhance EU Citizenship and Citizen Participation 4.The goals of Spanish Presidency on EU Citizen Participation 5.The European Commission Proposed Regulation on ECI (March, 31th 2010)

3 1.- The European identity: a view from the citizens The Debate on European Identitity: a fruitless (and “theological”) question In spite of this, from citizens perspective there is an increasing perception of the european identity and citizenship (dual –State/EU- citizenship) …and events -like this one- confirms this (right) way 3On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view

4 2.- The European Citizenship A new status civitatis “europaea”… …with rights (to circulate, to live in EU area, to vote, petitionning, etc) …. …and duties… …but with limits (individuals should be EU member States nationals- nationality requirement) 4On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view

5 3.- Lisbon Treaty innovations to enhance EU Citizenship and Citizen participation (i) To foster EU Citizenship, Lisbon Treaty provisions includes: –The binding character of EU Charter on Fundamental Rights (that previously innovates in EU citizens rights e.g. right to good administration) –The EU Accesion to the European Convention on Human Rights (Rome Convention 1950) On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view5

6 Article 6 TEU 1. The Union recognises the rights, freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 7 December 2000, as adapted at Strasbourg, on 12 December 2007, which shall have the same legal value as the Treaties. The provisions of the Charter shall not extend in any way the competences of the Union as defined in the Treaties. The rights, freedoms and principles in the Charter shall be interpreted in accordance with the general provisions in Title VII of the Charter governing its interpretation and application and with due regard to the explanations referred to in the Charter, that set out the sources of those provisions. 2. The Union shall accede to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Such accession shall not affect the Union's competences as defined in the Treaties. 3. Fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, shall constitute general principles of the Union's law. 6 On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view

7 3.- Lisbon Treaty innovations to enhance EU Citizenship and Citizen participation (and ii) Participatory Democracy : arts and 11 TEU (consolidated version): –The right to participate: transparency and subsidiarity (art and 11.3 TEU) –Institutions-Civil society Dialogue (art and 2 TEU; art TFEU) Direct Democracy : art TEU (consolidated version): –European Citizenship Legislative Initiative (art TEU) On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view7

8 Art TEU “Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen”. 8 On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view

9 Art TEU 1. The institutions shall, by appropriate means, give citizens and representative associations the opportunity to make known and publicly exchange their views in all areas of Union action. 2. The institutions shall maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with representative associations and civil society. 3. The European Commission shall carry out broad consultations with parties concerned in order to ensure that the Union's actions are coherent and transparent. 9 On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view

10 Art TEU (emphasis added) Not less than one million citizens who are nationals of a significant number of Member States may take the initiative of inviting the European Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties. The procedures and conditions required for such a citizens' initiative shall be determined in accordance with the first paragraph of Article 21 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union* »* “ordinary legislative procedure” (ancient -“codecision”– art. 251 TEC- procedure). 10 On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view

11 4.- The goals of Spanish Presidency on EU Citizen participation: “A Europe of rights and freedoms, A Europe for all citizens” A more democratic Europe with the participation of its citizens - the popular legislative initiative The Charter of Fundamental Rights, a further guarantee for its citizens Accession to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Reinforcing Europe’s social dimension Fighting against gender-based violence. 11On the Outlook for Citizen Participation in Europe: A Spanish view

12 5.- The European Commission Proposed Regulation on ECI (March, 31th 2010) The purpose of the proposed Rules is to ensure that: citizens' initiatives are a true representation of EU public opinion (i.e. in a sufficient number of EU countries) the rules are simple and user-friendly, so people can support initiatives easily the rules are not an extra burden on EU governments signatures are genuine. The key features of the proposed rules are: Supporters of citizens initiatives must come from at least one third of EU countries. Signatories must be of voting age for European Parliament elections. People should be able to sign up anywhere – in the street, by post or online. Security features should be put in place to ensure people supporting an initiative online are genuine. Initiatives should be checked to ensure they concern policy areas where the EU has powers to act. The national authorities would then verify signatories’ statements of support. If an initiative meets these rules, the Commission would decide on the next steps: –further study of the issue –proposing new EU laws –no action (if it doesn't consider the citizens' proposal appropriate) Whatever action the Commission takes, it will explain publicly why. *The Rules would come into effect at the best by the end of 2010 – if approved by the EU Council and European Parliament, according to the Ordinary Legislative Procedure established at art. 21 TFEU..

13 More information at the websites:

14 Thank you for your attention! Merci! Děkuji! Viele danke! Dank U! Dziękuję! Grazie! Hvala! Aitäh! Köszönöm szépen! Obrigado! Kiitos! Paldies! Gràcies! Ευχαριστω! Tack! Grazzi! Mult'umesc foarte mult Eskerrik asko! Go raibh maith agat! Благодаря! ¡Gracies! Ačiū! ¡Graciñas! Ďakujem! ¡Gracias!


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