'One of Us' is a European Citizen Initiative, which means it can propose legislation
On May 11th 2012, the European Commission registered the European Citizen Initiative “One of Us”. This initiative aims to obtain from the European Union that it will stop financing abortion and practices which destroy human embryos. This initiative began in the spring of 2012 following a proposal from Mr Carlo Casini, Member of the European Parliament and President of the Italian pro-life movement. Representatives from various European associations support and have participated in this initiative, with the aim of obtaining one million signatures before the 1st November, 2013. Dr Grégor Puppinck, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice is the official representative of the Initiative.
Formally, the legislative proposal of the initiative “One of Us” asks European institutions to assure the “legal protection of dignity, the right to life and to physical integrity of all human beings from their conception in the areas of competence of the European Union in which this protection is of a particular importance”. With this aim, the initiative proposes to
– modify the report by the Parliament and the Council regarding the Regulation on the establishment of the programme for research and innovation “Horizon 2020” (COM(2011)809 final) with the aim of introducing in its ethical principles (Article 16), a new provision forbidding to finance activities which imply the destruction of human embryos;
– modify the European Parliament and Council Regulation (CE) 2006/1905 from December 18th 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation in order to introduce a new section in Article 2 providing that the European Union will not directly or indirectly finance abortion.
If the European Union does not conform to the initiative’s demands it will be in a paradoxal situation whereby it will use public money to finance research that which is not only illegal in many European countries, but which is also considered detrimental to human dignity by the European Court of Justice, as expressed in the recent case of Brustle v Greenpeace.
A “European citizen initiative” is a mechanism of participatory democracy which allows a million European citizens to present to the Commission a proposal for a new European regulation in an area of competence of the European Union. If the initiative is supported by at least a million Europeans, the legislative proposal will be presented to the Commission and then to the European Parliament, during a public hearing. The Commission may then adopt, under the form of a communication, an official response in which it will present the action which proposed in response to the initiative. It must also outline the reasons behind the adoption or non-adoption of an action. Following the initiative, the Commission may chose to present a legislative proposal. If it decides to do so, the formal legislative procedure is launched: its proposal is presented to the European legislator and it enters into force after being negotiated and adopted.