The Stop TTIP ECI Campaign explained
The ECI campaign demands that the EU and its Member States do not ratify CETA and discontinue negotiations on TTIP. It aims to show the scale of public opposition against CETA and TTIP in the EU. We chose to do so within the framework of a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), which is an official instrument in the European Union for citizens to have a say on EU policies. However, our application in mid-July 2014 to be registered as an ECI was rejected by the European Commission in mid September 2014. After this rejection we decided on two core courses of action: 1) we are appealing the European Commission’s decision to reject the ECI in the European Court of Justice. The lawsuit was filed in early November. We are awaiting the Commission’s first legal response in early February 2015. 2) We are carrying out the ECI on a self-organised basis. We argue that citizens cannot be prevented from carrying out an ECI on an issue that will affect them so profoundly. We also use the rejection of our ECI as an example for how the Commission tries to prevent citizens’ involvement in TTIP and CETA negotiations. More about the story of the ECI campaign at https://stop-ttip.org/about-the-eci-campaign/
What do we try to achieve with the ECI?
There are multiple efforts from various civil society organisations across Europe to stop TTIP and CETA come into place. The ECI’s contribution to these efforts is to fulfil four main objectives:
1) to inform the public about the dangers posed by TTIP and CETA;
2) to engage the public by offering them the opportunity to take a low-key action, thus providing an entry point into the movement;
3) to demonstrate that a high number of Europeans oppose the treaties (the target that we communicated so far, is that we want to become the largest ECI ever, which means effectively that we have to gather at least two million signatures);
4) to build a strong European movement, i.e. ensure that the strong opposition that already exists in some countries is carried to other EU Member States. A measure of our success on this objective is the number of country quorums (= a minimum required amount of signatures per country as defined in the ECI rules) that we manage to reach and surpass.
What is the timescale?
A regular ECI has one year to gather signatures. Since we started out on October 7, 2014 signature collection continues until October 6, 2015.
How does the collection of signatures work?
We use the software “PoliCAT” as our online signature collection tool. PoliCAT creates signature forms (so called “web widgets”) that you can very easily embed in your own website. An easy to follow instruction on how to create a widget is available from the campaign’s office (contact Cornelia). You can ask us to transfer data ownership to you of address data of those signatories that have signed the ECI using your web widget. If you do so, you can keep signatories informed about your work.
We have signature sheets in 23 EU languages. There are two versions of the signature sheets. The first version only has the logo of the Stop TTIP alliance and can be downloaded here. People signing the self-organised ECI on this sheet, can choose to be updated via email by the Stop TTIP alliance (i.e. we send them our monthly newsletter).
Alternatively, you can alter the signature sheet, so that people signing this form can choose to be kept informed by your organisation (instead of Stop TTIP). This type of signature sheet displays your organisation’s logo in addition to the Stop TTIP logo, provides your own address as a return address and your organisation is named in the data protection policy. You have two obligations if you choose to use this version of the signature form: 1) You must ensure that you have the capacity to process the data gathered on these forms within a short period of time (1-2 weeks) and to keep the data safe according to EU data protection laws. 2) You must forward the forms as soon as possible to the Stop TTIP campaigns office in Berlin, so that we can count them.
What can I do to support the campaign?
- Embed a widget (signature gathering form) on your website so that people can directly sign there. (Alternatively to using a web widget, put a web banner on your homepage and link to stop-ttip.org/sign, see https://stop-ttip.org/resources/)
- Make people aware of the ECI again and again on Facebook and Twitter
- In your newsletter repeatedly refer to the ECI with a link to the widget or to the campaign’s website
- Promote the Twitter (@eci_ttip) and Facebook account (facebook.com/eci.ttip) of the ECI
- Write about the progress of signature collection and the numbers collected within your own country
- Insert signature sheets (see https://stop-ttip.org/signature-lists/) into your print media (e.g. members’ magazines) and accompany these with articles about the ECI/ TTIP/ CETA
- Include signature sheets, with a short covering letter, in your mailings
- Make use of events, internal staff meetings and conferences to collect signatures
- Think about whether your organisation wants to set a signature collection target
- Please feel free to use texts from our website. About TTIP/CETA: https://stop-ttip.org/what-is-the-problem-ttip-ceta/ or https://stop-ttip.org/what-is-the-problem-ttip-ceta/faqs/, about the ECI campaign: https://stop-ttip.org/about-the-eci-campaign/