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DI and ECI Campaign get ‘The Good Lobby’ award

Cologne, Germany, Dec 23 (UNI) Cologne-based direct democracy organisation - Democracy International (DI) and the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) Campaign, which is a neutral and independent organisation working for the successful introduction and implementation of the European Citizens’ Initiative right have been given "The Good Lobby - 2018" award for their contribution to "equalising political power and influence in Europe and beyond".
The Good Lobby Awards is an ‘annual celebration of projects, initiatives and campaigns led by citizens committed to lobby for change’.
The other finalists for the TGL NGO of the Year 2018 Award were: EuroChild, Transparency International and the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF). The jury deciding on the finalists and winners consisted of a carefully selected, independent panel of ‘activists, lawyers and NGOs representatives’.
According to Daniela Bozhinova, one of the Board members of the DI, the efforts of these organisations, the DI and the ECI, have made an impact and besides they have been publicly acknowledged. "The impact we have made so far may seem modest compared to our long list of ECI reform measures, but it is tangible - a change in the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament (EP) with which it takes upon itself to discuss and decide in plenary on initiatives which qualify. Hopefully this change is finally passed by the EP to come into force in February next year," Bozhinova said.
"This victory is just a milestone in our on-going work and campaign for a meaningful initiative mechanism and stronger empowerment of the European citizens for agenda-setting, but what a milestone it is," she added.
The #EPForgetUsNot civil society campaign was initiated by The ECI Campaign and led together with Democracy International in the context of the ongoing legislative revision of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). It was supported by 87 other civil society organisations and groups of ECI organisers.
The main purpose of the campaign was to get the European Parliament to commit to a stronger involvement in the follow-up on successful ECIs. After two joint open letters, social media actions, an ECI Day of Action and a great many hours of lobbying in Brussels and Strasbourg, the responsible ECI Rapporteur MEP György Schöpflin announced on 5 July 2018 that he would initiate an amendment to the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to ensure that plenary debates would be held on successful ECIs, before the Commission gives its formal response.
On 6 December 2018, the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee adopted an amendment to this effect. The vote in plenary is scheduled for 16 January 2019. Assuming it receives the promised support, it will come into effect on 11 February 2019.
“Knowing all the important work that NGOs are doing, and these finalists in particular, it is a great honour for us to be announced as winner of TGL NGO of the Year 2018 Award. Credits should not only go to us and to Democracy International, but to all other 87 civil society organisations who have supported us in our campaign! I am strongly convinced that it was only because of our united civil society front that we have been able to make a difference!” Maarten de Groot, Campaign Coordinator of The ECI Campaign said.
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