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Critics doubt future of citizens’ initiative

The credibility of the European Citizens’ Initiative has been called into question, after it transpired that the third initiative to gain enough signatures was unlikely to prompt action by the European Commission.

The ECI regulation, designed to increase public involvement in policy-making, requires the Commission to consider any proposal that receives 1 million signatures from seven EU countries in a 12-month period. But so far only three petitions have passed this threshold in three years, and neither of the two that have been assessed by the Commission have led to legislative change.

A hearing for the third initiative, a Stop Vivisection petition to halt animal testing in scientific research, was held in Brussels on 11 May. At the session, Karl Falkenberg, the Commission’s director-general for environment, said that the EU had only recently implemented a directive on animal testing in 2012, and should focus on its implementation rather than introduce new laws.

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