Brussels, 28 November 2016
ECI Mum Dad & Kids : Collection of Signatures will continue until 3 April 2017
The collection of signatures for the pro-family European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) “Mum Dad & Kids” will continue until 3 April 2017, i.e. one year after its official commencement. This has been confirmed by a letter that the President of the ECI, Edit Frivaldszky, has addressed to Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans. In that letter, she also requested the Commission to remove from its website incorrect information according which the signature collection were to end at an earlier date.
Article 5 (5) of Regulation 211/2011 provides:
All statements of support shall be collected after the date of registration of the proposed citizens’ initiative and within a period not exceeding 12 months.
This provision says that the statements of support must be collected after the ECI has been registered, and within a period of 12 months or less. It does not say that this period must necessarily begin immediately on the day of registration. Indeed, it does not even say that it is for the Commission to decide upon the dates on which that period should begin or end.
The provision furthermore stipulates:
At the end of that period, the register shall indicate that the period has expired and, where appropriate, that the required number of statements of support was not collected.
This means that at the end of the one-year period a mention should be inserted in the register that the period has expired. It does not mean that upon registering the ECI the Commission should decide, and mention in the register, the date on which the collection of signatures shall end.
The organizers of the ECI “Mum Dad & Kids” did not launch the collection of signatures immediately after the initiative’s registration, but only on 4 April 2016. This was due to the difficult procedure for setting up, and obtaining official approval for, an online collection system for signatures in line with the technical requirements set out in Regulation 211/2011.