Public initiatives

Public initiatives are a form of direct democracy and the only way for the public to directly submit draft legislation. The two main avenues for doing so are legislative initiatives and the European Citizens’ Initiative.

Legislative initiative is a tool that allows the public to propose new laws or amend existing laws on a national level. On the other hand, European Citizens’ Initiative is a tool that allows the public to petition the European Commission to propose legislation or other measures in the areas of its competence.

Public initiatives & Human rights

Public initiatives are another form of direct democracy which allow the public to participate in the law-making process. They are closely associated with freedom of expression, and more so with the idea that the people in a democracy have equal rights to make law. However, this right can be restricted. Namely, to provide legitimacy to the legislative proposals, the right to propose a legislative initiative is usually limited by the requirement that the initiative be backed by a significant proportion of the electorate. If your right to submit an initiative has been unlawfully or unjustifiably restricted, it may result in interference with or violation of your freedom of expression.

About this section

This section of the Guide will explain what the main forms of public initiative are, the criteria with which they need to comply, how they may be submitted, as well as how to complain if your right to submit an initiative has been violated.


Last updated 08/04/2023