Both in the United States and in Europe, I constantly get asked why an American should have any interest in the European Union or Europe in general besides just as a vacation destination. Why on earth would an American study European Public Affairs? While many of my American friends at University have decided to specialize in Political Science or International Relations for their Master’s degree, I chose instead to specialize in European Public Affairs. For some Americans, it is hard to fathom what exactly it is that I study. For Europeans, it is hard to fathom an American having a true passion for the topic. Continue reading
Yesterday (10 February 2013), the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Water is a Human Right’ succeeded in collecting 1 million signatures of EU citizens. It is the first of the 15 open ECIs to reach the required amount of signatures.
The ECI has been created by the Lisbon Treaty* to enhance participatory and direct democracy, addressing the EU democratic deficit. It took more than one year after the entry into force of the Treaty, on December 2009, for the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to adopt a Regulation setting out the rules and procedures for the ECI. Then, in April 2012, the first ECI, ‘Fraternity 2020’ was launched. A successful ECI, after its registration and the certification of its online collection system (OCS), must gather at least one million EU citizens’ signatures (statements of support can be on paper and/or online), coming from at least 7 out of the 27 member states, within 12 months. Continue reading