The European Commission on Wednesday approved three petitions aimed at garnering cross-EU support for proposals to reduce corruption in new member states, protect bees and boost climate action.
So-called European citizens' initiatives were launched in 2012 as a means of involving people more directly in EU decision-making.
The first petition argues that new member states should be ineligible for EU structural and cohesion funds for 10 years, until any corruption has been rooted out.
The other two petitions relate to environmental issues, with one group seeking more ambitious climate goals and financial support for climate action, to curb global warming in line with internationally agreed targets.
The third initiative aims to promote ‘bee-friendly agriculture,’ with legislation aimed at phasing out synthetic pesticides, restoring biodiversity and helping farmers through the transition.
Earlier this year, the commission gave the go-ahead to another citizens' initiative calling for the protection of bee populations.
Scientists have been pointing to declining populations of bees and other pollinators as a danger sign for biodiversity and a risk to food supplies. Researchers see the heavy use of pesticides as a key factor.
The three initiatives will be registered later this month, from which point the organizers will have a year to collect at least 1 million signatures from a quarter of all EU member states in order to take their petitions to the next level.
If they succeed, the commission has three months to take action - for example, by proposing legislation. If it rejects a petition, it must explain why.
A fourth initiative, seeking to ban trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories, was rejected for going beyond the commission's powers.
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