Qu’est-ce que l’initiative citoyenne européenne ?

Par le 10 juin 2019

Quand on pense à la Commission européenne, on pense généralement à une institution lointaine, technocratique, opaque, presque indépendante des volontés citoyennes. Pourtant, un outil, opérationnel depuis 2012, permet aux citoyens des États membres de faire entendre leurs voix pour aiguiller la Commission dans ses travaux: l’Initiative citoyenne européenne (ICE) !

Un mécanisme récent

Dans l’Histoire de la construction européenne, si la Commission apparaît dès la fin des années 1950, il faut attendre le début du XXIe siècle, plus précisément 2001, pour voir les premières esquisses de l’ICE apparaître. Lors de la Convention Européenne, que l’on pourrait décrire brièvement comme une institution temporaire chargée de doter l’Union européenne d’une Constitution, 110 ONG et 41 parlementaires européens (soutenus entre autres par Valéry Giscard d’Estaing) ont fait pression pour que soit créé un moyen pour les citoyens européens d’interpeller la Commission européenne: l’idée de l’ICE était née.

Si l’ICE est inscrit dans la Constitution de 2003, la non-ratification de celle-ci par la France et les Pays-Bas aboutit au rejet, non seulement de la Constitution mais aussi de l’ICE. Le projet ressuscite en 2007 avec le Traité de Lisbonne, véritable version réarrangée de la Constitution, qui reprend simplement l’article sur le sujet de celle-ci. Cependant, l’entrée en vigueur de celui-ci en 2009 ne signifie pas l’entrée en vigueur de l’ICE: il faut en effet attendre la transposition dans le droit européen de celle-ci et la mise en place des moyens techniques permettant sa mise en oeuvre. C’est donc en 2012 que l’Initiative citoyenne européenne devient opérationnelle.


Valéry Giscard d’Estaing et Silvio Berlusconi présentent le rapport de la convention sur l’avenir de l’Europe (crédit photo: CVCE.eu)

Comment ça marche ?

Pour comprendre comment fonctionne l’Initiative citoyenne européenne, prenons un exemple. Imaginons que l’aimable lecteur qui lit ces lignes considère comme urgent que la Commission européenne se penche sur la taille réglementaire des pelotes de laine (après tout chacun ses combats). S’il veut lancer une Initiative citoyenne européenne, il doit respecter une procédure en 5 étapes:

1. Création d’un Comité de citoyens: L’ICE étant un projet d’envergure continentale, il a besoin d’un cadre, un groupe de représentation, que l’on appelle “Comité de citoyens”, qui sera une sorte d’institution temporaire chargée d’encadrer cet initiative, de communiquer avec la Commission tout au long de celle-ci, composée d’au moins 7 citoyens européens de 7 nationalités différentes en âge de voter.

2. Enregistrement de l’Initiative: Une fois le Comité de citoyens institué, celui-ci a pour mission d’enregistrer l’ICE auprès de la Commission européenne, en fournissant un document faisant figurer l’intitulé, l’objet et une brève description de l’initiative, les fondements judiciaires de celle-ci, ses moyens de financements ainsi que tout ce que le Comité peut considérer comme utile à la Commission. Celle-ci, a alors deux mois pour valider l’enregistrement, qu’elle peut refuser s’il ne porte pas sur ses compétences, s’il vise à abroger une loi ou s’il est considéré comme contraire aux valeurs de l’Union.

3. Collecte des soutiens: L’initiative validée, le Comité de citoyens dispose d’une année pour collecter 1 million de signatures. Pour que les signatures soient validées dans un État membre, il faut qu’il y ait un nombre de signature équivalent à 750 fois le nombre de députés européens du pays en question, ainsi en France il faut 750 x 74 = 55 500 signataires au moins pour que les signatures de cette initiative soient validées au niveau national.

4. Certification des signatures: Les signatures collectées, les organisateurs doivent les soumettre aux autorités nationales de chaque pays membre concerné qui doit les certifier (les assurer comme véritables) puis les transmettre à la Commission européenne. Les États Membres ont 3 mois pour réaliser ce processus.

5. Examen de l’Initiative: Les organisateurs, une fois les 4 autres étapes accomplies, remettent l’ensemble des signatures et des informations sur leur financement à la Commission. Celle-ci est alors chargée de publier l’initiative dans un registre et de recevoir ses organisateurs pour connaître en détail les tenants et les aboutissants de celle-ci. Les organisateurs peuvent aussi, par ailleurs, réclamer une audience au Parlement européen.


Jean-Claude Juncker, Président de la Commission européenne (Crédit photo: BFMTV)

Quel bilan à la mi-2019 ?

Le bilan, à la mi-2019, de l’Initiative citoyenne européenne, est souvent considéré comme assez terne. En effet, celle-ci est considéré bien souvent comme trop compliquée et trop lente à mettre en place, ce qui a conduit de nombreuses listes à proposer une réforme de celle-ci pour les élections européennes 2019 (Les Républicains et Parti Socialiste/Place Publique, entre autres). Au 1er juin 2019, seulement 4 Initiatives avaient abouti :
1. L’eau et l’assainissement sont un droit humain ! L’eau est un bien public, pas une marchandise ! : Visant à garantir l’accès à l’eau à tous les citoyens européens et à faire de cet accès un droit de l’Homme.
2. Un de nous. : Visant, selon son porte-parole, à ce qu’« aucun fonds de l’Union européenne ne doit être attribué à des activités qui détruisent des embryons humains ou qui présupposent leur destruction ».
3. Stop Vivisection : Visant à arrêter et interdire les expérimentations animales.

Affiche officielle de Stop Vivisection (Crédit Photo: Parlement Européen)

4. Interdire le Glyphosate : Visant à interdire de façon définitive le Glyphosate pour les risques cancérigènes qu’on lui prête.


Affiche de l’ICE visant à interdire le Glyphosate (Crédit photo: Greenpeace USA)

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