(Brussels) The EU Commission’s proposal to revise the European Citizens’ Initiative was welcomed by the European Parliament and Council which have reached a so-called “political agreement” on the matter. The goal is to streamline the mechanisms of this instrument for participation which allows one million citizens to submit legislative proposals to the Commission. The reform aims to make it easier for people to set up an initiative and connect with other people who have similar proposals; register initiatives with the certainty that they fall within the Commission’s competences; organize the collection of signatures, through a free online service; and support the initiative. In addition, the proposal calls for an extension from 3 to 6 months of the phase of examination of successful initiatives that have gathered the required support of 1 million citizens, to allow for more “meaningful awareness-raising, engagement and debate before the Commission sets out its” conclusions. Citizens “will now have an easily accessible and user-friendly tool at their disposal” to ask the EU institutions directly to act on the issues they really care about”, Vice-President Frans Timmermans said. Expressing regret for “it wasn’t possible to lower the participation age from 18 to 16 years old”, he then encouraged every country to “allow younger generations to also have their say”. After formal approval, the new regulation will start applying as of 1 January 2020.