European Citizens’ Initiative
As of 2012, EU citizens have had the right to apply directly to the European Commission with a European Citizens’ Initiative in order to propose a concrete legislative amendment.
To do this, a citizens’ committee must first be set up, consisting of at least seven members* from at least seven different EU countries. After successful assessment of the initiative by the European Commission, the Citizens’ Committee has one year to collect signatures.
A total of at least one million signatures must be collected, and the minimum number of signatures must be reached in at least a quarter of the EU states, currently seven EU states. The required minimum number is about 750 times the number of members of the European Parliament of this country – in Germany, for example, 72,000 signatures are required.
The minimum number of signatures required for each EU Member State can be found in the Official Register of the European Commission. It can be signed either in writing or online.
If the required number of signatures is reached within the period, the European Commission is obliged to react and the Citizens’ Committee can present its initiative at a public hearing in the European Parliament. Within three months, the European Commission will respond on how they plan to proceed. At best, this will lead to the adoption of the proposal and a legislative amendment. However, the European Commission may also reject the citizens’ initiative and state its reasons for so doing.
We see the European Citizens’ Initiative as a chance to engage for the extension of the Fins Naturally Attached Regulation in the European Union. Therefore, we need as many supporters throughout the EU as possible.
*Minimum voting age (usually 18 years, Austria and Malta 16 years, Greece 17 years) must be reached and you must not be a member of the European Commission. An entry in the electoral register is not required.
 Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011 on the citizens’ initiative, 2011
 Official Register of the European Commission on the European Citizens’ Initiative, https://ec.europa.eu/citizens-initiative/public/signatories, 2019
Initiators of the EU Citizens’ Initiative
Alexander Hendrik Cornelissen
Luis Miguel Fonseca Alves
Monica Tenorio de Figueiredo Gabell
Fernando Frias Reis
Frédéric Xavier Le Manach
Veerle Gishlain Roelandt
Andrew Mark Griffiths
“With this initiative we as citizens have the chance to speak out against illegal finning and catching of sharks purely for their fins. The trading of fins from Europe must stop!”
Nils is a shark conservation activist and scuba diving instructor. He has been diving with sharks around the world and experienced both their beauty and meaning for marine ecosystems as well as the threats humans pose to their existence. Nils is working for Sharkproject, an international initiative for shark conservation.
“Sharks are the most underappreciated animals in the oceans, sheer perfection and beauty. The importance of sharks in the eco-system is fundamental in the survival of the oceans; we need to step up our measures to protect sharks.”
Alex is the CEO of Sea Shepherd Global. Through his work for Sea Shepherd he has witnessed first hand the devastating effects of shark fishing on shark populations worldwide. He has also had the privilege to dive with sharks in many remote areas.
Netherlands, Substitute Spokesperson