European Citizens’ Initiatives: the EU Commission Cannot Ignore its Own Democratic Tools

23 Mai 2024 | English

Eurogroup for Animals and Slow Food  have sent a joint letter to the European Commission, urgently demanding concrete actions on the ECIs “End the Cage Age” and “Save Bees and Farmers”!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Brussels, 23 May 2024.

Democratic participatory tools, designed to empower citizens in shaping EU legislation, are being disregarded by the European Commission (EC), raising concerns over the lack of action on commitments made in response to European Citizens’ Initiatives (ECIs).

In a joint letter addressed to Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová, Eurogroup for Animals and Slow Food expressed their concern on the inaction of the EC in response to citizens’ demands. Specifically, the NGOs highlighted the ECIs  End the Cage Age  and  Save bees and farmers!, which both initially received clear commitments from the EC, only to be later backtracked. This failure by the EC to follow through calls into question the very raison d’etre of the ECI instrument itself and severely undermines the trust that citizens have in the EU’s democratic process. 

Despite its objective to enable participatory democracy, none of the ten successful ECIs have resulted in  concrete legislative outcomes, indicating that citizens’ demands have only had a marginal influence on the Commission’s legislative agenda.

The two NGOs also emphasised that the absence of a sustainable food system framework continues to jeopardise the very objectives of the EU’s Green Deal ambitions, at a time when all studies show there is a critical need for a transition to resilient farming and a focus on dietary shifts.

EU Citizens have been resoundingly vocal on the need for better legislation to protect animals, yet, the impact of democratic participatory tools have so far only been marginal. As we head to the European elections, we call on the European Commission to answer to the calls of citizens and come forward with action plans on these ECIs,” commented Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals.

So many EU citizens have mobilised around European Citizens’ Initiatives in the past years. Such a widespread engagement cannot keep being dismissed by the European Commission, because it undermines the democratic principles upon which the EU is founded. It erodes trust in the political process and risks alienating citizens who are eager to contribute to shaping policies that affect their lives,” commented Marta Messa, Slow Food’s Secretary General.

Eurogroup for Animals and Slow Food urge the European Commission to promptly address these issues and take concrete actions to fulfil the commitments made in response to ECIs. 

Read the full letter here.



Eurogroup for Animals represents over ninety animal protection organisations in almost all EU Member States, the UK, Switzerland, Serbia, Norway, Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, India, Kenya, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, United States, Venezuela and Australia. Since its foundation in 1980, the organisation has succeeded in encouraging the EU to adopt higher legal standards for animal protection. Eurogroup for Animals reflects public opinion through its members and has both the scientific and technical expertise to provide authoritative advice on issues relating to animal protection. Eurogroup for Animals is a founding member of the World Federation for Animals which unites the animal protection movement at the global level.


Slow Food is a global network of local communities founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions and counteract the rise of fast food culture. Since its founding, Slow Food has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean and fair food. Slow Food is the umbrella organization responsible for guiding the entire movement.


Press Contacts:

Theresa Bonnici, Press Officer, Eurogroup for Animals  

[email protected]

+32 (0) 456 42 11 99   


Alice Poiron, Communications Officer for EU & International Advocacy

[email protected]

+32 (0) 4 73 77 07 39


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