On 16 June 2021, the European Commission decided to register a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Ban Fossil Fuel Advertising and Sponsorships'.
The organisers of the initiative call on the Commission to propose a legislation banning advertisement and sponsorship for fossil fuels, for all types of vehicles using those fuels (excluding the vehicles dedicated to transport services of general economic interest) and for all undertakings that extract, refine, produce, supply, distribute, or sell any fossil fuels. The proposed ban should apply both offline and online, and cover advertising and sponsorship notably in the context of sport, education, science, public events and third party media events. The organisers clarify that the fossil fuel products concerned include oil, fossil gas and coal.
The advertisement of climate damaging products and intentional subsequent uplift in sales has a negative impact on an increase of greenhouse gas emissions which cannot be afforded. ECOPNET (European Cooperation and Partnership Network) strongly believes that this decision would increase public awareness of products and technologies that are responsible for climate change and other environmental and health harms.
The Commission considers that this ECI is legally admissible, as it meets the necessary conditions and therefore decided to register it. The Commission has not analysed the substance of the ECI at this stage.
Following this registration of the ECI, its organisers can start the process of collecting signatures. If the ECI receives 1 million support within 1 year from at least 7 Member States, the Commission will have to react. The Commission could decide either to follow the request or not, and in both instances would be required to explain its reasoning.
The European Citizens' Initiative was introduced with the Lisbon Treaty as an agenda-setting tool in the hands of citizens. It was officially launched in April 2012.
Once formally registered, a European citizens' initiative allows for 1 million citizens from at least one quarter of EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose legal acts in areas where the Commission has the power to act.
The conditions for admissibility are: (1) the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission's powers to submit a proposal for a legal act, (2) it is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious and (3) it is not manifestly contrary to the values of the Union. Since the beginning of the ECI, the Commission has registered 79 European citizens' initiatives and initially refused registering 26 which did not satisfy the conditions.
Source: European Commission Press Corner