Referenda are an essential part of a real democracy. It allows us - the people - to propose and vote new laws (initiative) or to counter unjust legislation (recall) voted by the electoral representative system. Though essential, we should try to prevent referenda, due to high costs and the HUGE amount of energy needed for the mass collection of signatures. Therefore, many citizens/groups cannot even organize a referendum. Enchanting the right of petition solves that issue.
Europe can ONLY evolve to more democracy if the lower administrative levels are democratized first. This - really
- is crucial. More democracy starts from the bottom-up; not the other way around. Thus our project starts with the municipal level. After that: the regional & the national level.
Success would be when the vast majority of the Flemish local councils decide to improve their current legislation about petition in their household regulations. Submitting a petition must go along with specific enforceable rights. Now it still remains a direct-democratic tool without much impact.
We start locally by visiting every Flemish local council with our request, we'll give lectures locally and organize congresses nationally, we'll work with academia (as our organization already does) to set up the best criteria, we'll publish a brochure about the added value and necessity of an instrument called petition in order to promote the instrument throughout civil society, we'll be collecting and stressing 'best practices' in Belgium and abroad, etc.
We recall Art. 21 Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, DIRECT (= petition, referendum) or through freely chosen representatives. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government."
For the benefit of all mankind; for the citizens who want self-determination and want to be in charge of their own society/destiny. Thus we propose a more inclusive and democratic evolution of our society to ALL citizens of the European Union.
How is the right of petition in other European countries? Is it taken seriously or is it just window-dressing?