By Jasmin Hiry
On 29 July 2019, Advocate General Bobek confirmed the General Court’s ruling in One of Us. His opinion in Case C-418/18P Puppinick and Others v European Commission has been much awaited, as it deals with a so far largely unaddressed aspect of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) – the potential outcome of a successful initiative.
The ECI was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty and constitutes the first supranational tool of participatory democracy. It allows one million citizens, from at least one quarter of the Member States to invite 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 (Article 11(4) TEU & Article 7 Regulation 211/2011). Regulation (EU) No 211/2011, which will soon be replaced by Regulation (EU) 2019/788, lays down the concrete procedure and conditions required for an ECI. The procedure consists of three steps – (1) registration, (2) collection of support and ultimately, (3) submission of a successful initiative, which is one that meets the threshold of one million supporters, to the Commission for examination. So far, the case law has largely dealt with the first stage of this procedure (see e.g. C-589/15 P Anagnostakis or C-420/16P Izsák and Dabis). Puppinick, however, is the very first case before the Court of Justice dealing with the outcome of an ECI. Continue reading
By Oliver Garner
I. Introduction: A New Initiative for UK nationals After Brexit?
On 11 January 2016, the European Commission registered a European Citizens Initiative to create a “European Free Movement Instrument”. The purpose of the Initiative is to lobby the European Union institutions to create a mechanism by which individuals may be directly granted the rights of free movement provided by EU citizenship, which is currently predicated upon nationality of a Member State in accordance with Article 20 TFEU. The proposers of the Initiative – the “Choose Freedom Campaign” – outline that their intention is not to reform the nature of Citizenship of the European Union; they concede that “the EU isn’t a government, and only Nation states can issue Citizenship”. Instead, their ambition is more limited – they argue that the European Union should institute a “Universal Mechanism” in order to provide individuals with a European Union passport: “we beg the Commission to delineate a method by which all Europeans of good standing may be granted a signal & permanent instrument of their status and of their right to free movement through the Union by way of a unified document of laissez-passer as permitted by Article (4) of Council Regulation 1417/2013, or by another method”.
Although the information on the Initiative on the Commission’s website and the accompanying press release do not explicitly link the putative Free Movement Mechanism to Brexit, it seems clear that such a competence for the European Union to directly issue EU passports would address the loss of rights that will be attendant to UK nationals losing the status of EU citizenship provided to them through nationality of a Member State once the United Kingdom has withdrawn in accordance with Article 50 TEU. Continue reading