Recent trends in European citizens’ initiatives: The General Court case law and the Commission’s practice

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Series Details Vol.24, No.2, June 2018, p335-361
Publication Date June 2018
ISSN 1354-3725
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This article analyses recent trends in European citizens’ initiatives. Starting from the assumption that this instrument enhances the level of citizens’ democratic participation in European Union life, we will turn our attention to the case law developed by the General Court. Then we move on to an analysis of the principles of good administration and the duty to give reasons as a necessary counterbalance over the wide-ranging regulatory powers enjoyed by the Commission in all the phases of a European citizens’ initiative.

Consequently, we depict the Commission as the real procedural gatekeeper focusing, in particular, on its role both in the registration and in the final follow-up phase, in which the Commission is called to express its own political and legal views. Finally, we argue that, despite the numerous administrative hurdles enshrined in Regulation 211/2011, a European citizens’ initiative may very well represent an instrument to give people their say in setting institutions’ agenda, especially in steering the legislator when dealing with highly controversial subject matters.

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