ÖGfE-Survey: 6 Years European Citizens‘ Initiative – little knowledge among Austrians

On 1 April it is six years that the European Citizens‘ Initiative (ECI) has been introduced in the  European Union. The ECI was meant to strengthen EU citizens’ direct democratic participation. Austrians’ knowledge on the ECI though remains rather limited, a new ÖGfE survey shows.

63 percent say in our Austrian wide survey (514 respondents) that they have not heard about the European Citizen’s Initiative yet. Only 30 percent do know about it while 7 percent do not respond. Knowledge on the ECI has decreased in the last years. In autumn 2012 – half a year after the ECI has been introduced – 43 percent said that they had heard about the new instrument while 56 percent had not.

52 percent though think that the European Citizen’s Initiative could be a meaningful instrument to provide EU citizens more means of direct democratic participation. 31 percent doubt that the ECI can strengthen citizens’ involvement in EU decision making. In autumn 2012 62 percent thought of the ECI as an instrument to foster direct democratic involvement while 27 percent did not share that view. The number of those who could not respond to this question increased from 11 percent in 2012 to 17 percent in 2018-

 The current survey was conducted from 20 to 28 March 2018 by the Sozialwissenschaftliche Studiengesellschaft (SWS) on behalf of ÖGfE (Tel SWS 273). 514 persons were questioned via telephone (Austrian population from the age of 16 / weighted according to gender, age and education). Maximum margin of fluctuation approx. +/- 4,3 percent. Difference to 100 percent due to rounded values respectively (*) „don’t know / no answer.)