Anna Maria’s intervention in plenum on the European citizens’ initiative – Strasbourg 15.12.2010
”Madame President, as shadow rapporteur for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, I have been fully committed to helping shape this new right to political initiative for the citizens of Europe with a view to really empowering the people.
I support the final compromise and congratulate Mr Lamassoure. It makes it user-friendly, simple and accessible for citizens. I welcome especially the transparency as regards both political and financial support.
However, I regret that financing from political parties and groups is allowed and national politicians are allowed to be initiators.
I do not want to spoil the party here, colleagues, but let us be realistic! There is a risk that the democratic process in Europe could not only be boosted but also derailed, and the citizens’ initiative could be exploited, if not hijacked, by extremists and populists.
I think we all have now to take our shared responsibility and make sure it is really used for the citizens.
I call upon elected politicians in Member States to respect the fact that they have representative democracy to express their views and this initiative is for citizens.
I call upon the Commission to properly inform citizens to avoid raising false expectations, and to be tough as regards the admission criteria.
I call upon the media to play their role in giving correct information, and on Member States to respect personal data so that the people will feel enough trust to participate.
I really hope that we will be able to give our citizens the chance to be part of this debate and enjoy using this instrument!”