The European Citizens’ Initiative is Volt’s opportunity to directly bring a new law into force across the EU.
A European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), requires 1 million people in at least 7 different EU states to sign a petition backing a legislative proposal.
With Volt’s pan-European reach and growing influence, we are in a great position to bring forward an ECI, enhance citizen empowerment and participation in decision-making processes.
Our proposal is for a European Rail Network - EuroTrain
Proposal in brief
Creating an integrated network of high speed services
Committing funding to sustainability
Creating a single ticketing system
The European Citizens' Initiative is a unique way for all EU citizens to help improve the EU by suggesting that the European Commission propose new laws. All you need is a concrete idea of how something can be changed for the better. An initiative needs to reach 1 million signatures; then the European Commission will decide which action to take.
Our EuroTrain ECI suggests introducing a single European railway network. This would be centred around more high speed rail lines, more night trains and a single technical and ticketing system, supported through the use of cohesion funds. Through this, we will work to make rail travel in Europe easier, faster and smarter, and so more competitive with air and road-based transport.
With ambitious targets set for emissions reduction under the European Green Deal, there is a pressing need for cleaner transport, currently the second most CO2 emitting sector in the EU (responsible for almost ¼ of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions).
Railways are the greenest mode of mass transport, with a low impact on air quality and the lowest social costs. Shifting more traffic to rail is a clear part of the solution to our climate crisis, but to do this, we need to make rail travel easier, faster and smarter for all.
To achieve this, and so progress towards the climate objectives set in the Green Deal, several measures are needed to address current challenges; an inadequate and disconnected high speed rail network, differing ticketing and technical systems that introduce complexity and delays (in particular in comparison with the airline industry), and insufficient investment.
- The European Commission has been working to restructure the rail network over the past 25 years. The Commission's efforts have concentrated on three major areas: (1) opening the rail transport market to competition, (2) improving the interoperability and safety of national networks and (3) developing rail transport infrastructure. However, this is not enough to create a seamless user experience and progress in reducing reliance on road and air travel is not fast enough.
The Volt ECI Eurotrain is promoting a fully integrated European network, and our objective is to increase the share of modal share of rail in Europe. We know that we need to make travelling by train easier, faster and smarter for all. Volt’s ECI aims to make train travel as easy as getting in your car.
The European Commission is working on the supply side, we are focusing on practical solutions that will make rail travel more attractive. In other words, it doesn’t matter if it’s Thalys, PKP or RENFE; you just want to get there fast, affordably and with a single ticket.
Imagine being able to travel from Point A to Point B, using any route of the EU’s 200,000km rail network that you like, crossing national borders, all with a single ticket. Convenient, right? It’s what motorists already enjoy. Integrated ticketing and scheduling systems would give passengers more convenience, flexibility and fare transparency. And in case of travel disruption, your single ticket would mean that rail operators must accommodate your travel schedule and get you to your final destination at no extra cost.
A reimagined and revamped night train network would complement the expanded high-speed network by providing direct connections between smaller urban centres. With competitive fares and the convenience of direct city centre access, night trains would represent a viable alternative to long-distance bus travel and fuel-intensive point-to-point low-cost flights.
The link to sign the ECI will be launched as soon as the initiative is approved and becomes open for signatures. You would need to fill in a short online form. The required information varies from one country to another.
Every European national of European election voting age, regardless of their place of residence, can sign the ECI. The minimum voting age is 18 for all EU member states except for Austria and Malta, where you must be at least 16, and Greece where you must be at least 17.
NO: you simply must be a national of an EU country, but you might be not currently resident in the EU - in which case when signing up, simply choose the country you’re an EU national of and your signature will be counted in that country.
6 months from the date the initiative is validated by reaching the required signatures, the Commission is required to answer by issuing a communication stating the measures it plans to take. It will also give justifications and a timeline for implementing the measures. This might not necessarily be a piece of legislation as the aim of the European Citizens’ Initiative is to enable Europeans to launch a debate and influence the EU’s agenda. It does not oblige the Commission to propose legislation.
You can invite friends to sign the initiative, sponsor it on social media and even join Volt’s ECI taskforce to coordinate the effort at the EU level.
The Committee, officially called the “Group of Organisers”, must consist of 7 EU citizens who are resident in 7 different countries of the EU and are at least 18 years old (in Austria and Malta 16, Greece 17). They will be the officially registered initiators at EU Level for the ECI and represent the Initiative to the broader public, for example on our website. Furthermore, they also have to declare a representative and a substitute who will be official contacts for the European Commission during our campaign.