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EC declares as inadmissible request for EU referendum on the UK remaining or leaving

The European Commission yesterday decided not to register a European Citizens' Initiative entitled 'EU wide referendum whether the European Citizens want the United Kingdom to remain or to leave!'.

The Commission found that that the conditions for registration of this initiative were not met as the matter falls outside of the EU's field of competence.

The initiative states that: “All European Citizens should have the possibility to express their political opinion, whether they wish the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union." The organisers call on the European Commission to “support this public opinion poll giving all European Citizens in all 28 member states, the possibility to express their wish whether the Brexit should happen or not.” Article 50(1) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) explicitly allows any Member State to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. While the European Commission regrets the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, it respects the outcome of the referendum.


European Citizens' Initiatives were introduced with the Lisbon Treaty and launched as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens in April 2012, upon the entry into force of the European Citizens' Initiative Regulation which implements the Treaty provisions. In 2017, as part of President Juncker's State of the Union address, the European Commission tabled reform proposals for the European Citizens' Initiative to make it even more user-friendly.

Once formally registered, a European Citizens' Initiative allows one million citizens from at least one quarter of EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose a legal act in areas where the Commission has the power to do so.

The conditions for admissibility, as foreseen by the European Citizens' Initiative Regulation, are that the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission's powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, that it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and that it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union.

Over the last two years the Commission registered four ‘Brexit-related' initiatives:

While two ‘Brexit-related' initiatives did not meet the conditions for registration and were declared as inadmissible:

For More Information

ECIs currently collecting signatures

ECI website

ECI Regulation

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


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