The ECI’s Promise in Peril

Why the European Citizens’ Initiative merits radical reform On the 1st of April 2014, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) turned two — its unfortunate birthdate determined by EU translation services. … Continue Reading


What didn’t happen with the European Citizens’ Initiative…and what did

This article is from the upcoming publication “An ECI That Works!” to be released on 15 April 2014 by The ECI Campaign. In 2010-2011, I campaigned for a citizen-friendly ECI … Continue Reading


You’ll miss Europe if we kill it: the EU benefits the world more than people appreciate

Several years ago, after a lifetime in the heartland of America, I moved to the heart of the European Union. Having heard Brussels described as the Washington, D.C. of Europe, … Continue Reading


Putting EU citizens before lobbyists: is the ECI the tool?

A friend recently asked me to sign a petition opposing a soon-to-be-implemented EU directive which will effectively ban many herbal medicines. Putting aside the merits of the topic, my first … Continue Reading


Warning: EU elections may be dangerous to your democracy

If the first election in which a young voter participates is a European election then that voter is less likely to vote in any kind of election for the rest … Continue Reading


A (real) democratic life for EU citizens…

The European Union (EU) is moving quickly to clarify and enforce the rights of its citizens, driven by the very senior, results-oriented Commissioner Viviane Reding. The Commission’s focus is the … Continue Reading


Who’s afraid of the world’s first transnational participatory democracy tool?

Europe will begin the first-ever experiment in transnational participatory democracy later this year with the launch of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). This participatory agenda-setting tool allows one million European … Continue Reading


Reflection group offers few new ideas to engage EU citizens

Back in 2008, with the EU stalled pending ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council appointed a high-level independent Reflection Group, headed by Felipe González, to propose solutions to … Continue Reading


Making room for unexpected voices

Since surveys alone cannot provide a complete or nuanced view of public opinion, they are best preceded or complemented by qualitative research. Samples are small and not necessarily random. So, … Continue Reading


A random sample is not enough

One way the “voice of the ordinary European” currently reaches EU policy makers is via opinion polling. The European Commission’s Eurobarometer surveys measure what Europeans know and how they feel … Continue Reading