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Policy Brief

05 / 2018

Policy Brief of the Bertelsmann Stiftung
dealing with current topics and challenges to the future of democracy.


Policy Brief

The Reform of the European Citizens' Initiative:
Not for the Youth?

Brussels wants to improve the European Citizens' Initiative. The Parliament, the Commission and the Council are on board, though not fully in agreement. Not lowering the minimum age from 18 to 16 would be a missed opportunity for the EU.



Dear Sir, dear Madam,

The European Union, which refers to itself as the “Europe of the Citizens”, continues to struggle with the direct involvement of citizens in European policymaking. However, the current reform process of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) demonstrates that the Parliament, the Commission and the Council are willing to improve citizens’ participation in EU policymaking. One big step in the right direction would be and should be lowering the minimum age to support an ECI from 18 to 16 as suggested by the European Commission. 

It may seem like a small step, but it has the potential to have a substantial impact. Different examples and studies show: The right to participate in a European Citizens' Initiative has the potential to increase interest in European politics as a whole as well as in European parliamentary elections in the long run. Reasons why the EU should open the ECI to the young are at the heart of the new issue of our Policy Brief:

“The Reform of the European Citizens' Initiative: Not for the Youth?”
by Dr. Dominik Hierlemann and Dr. Christian Huesmann

The Policy Brief of the program “Future of Democracy” of the Bertelsmann Stiftung provides analyses of current challenges to our democracy.

We look forward to receiving any feedback you might have, and wish you happy reading!

Kind regards,

Christina Tillmann and Dr. Robert Vehrkamp

Link to the overview of previous policy briefs


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Responsible for the content:


Christina Tillmann


Program Future of Democracy


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