12 May 2020
Seventeen million Europeans do not live in their country of origin but in another European country. They pay taxes and contribute to the economies of the Member States they moved to. Still, they are not entitled to full political rights as they cannot vote in national elections in their countries of residence.
For a group of students united in the initiative, Voters Without Borders, “it is a European problem that needs a European solution”.
That’s why they started an ECI – which stands for European Citizens’ Initiative. An ECI is an instrument of transnational direct democracy enabling 7 citizens from 7 countries to collect signatures to ask the European Commission to adopt a new policy.
The objective of their petition is to improve the situation of millions of EU citizens living in other EU country and enable them to fully their exercise voting rights, and, in the best scenario, start a legislative process to extend them beyond the local and European elections.
Wonder how a group of students can set up a task force to ask the European Union to extend the political rights of its citizens?
Our podcast host, Fiorella Lavorgna interviewed Anna Comacchio and Petar Markovic, who are in charge of this ECI. They told us how they started, how they are organized and how it is possible to replicate what they are doing. Our co-host, Professor Alberto Alemanno provided some context on this major citizen-driven movement.
Listen to Episode 2