Open letter to the European Commission: Stand by your commitment to the European Citizens’ Initiative

2023 Oct 13th

Dear President von der Leyen,

Dear Members of the College of Commissioners,

We, the undersigned civil society organizations dedicated to the promotion of European democracy and its foundational values, write to you today with an unequivocal and urgent message.

In June 2021, the European Commission made a commitment in response to the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) End the Cage Age. In your written response, the Commission pledged to present a legislative proposal to phase out and ultimately prohibit the use of cages for animals, aligning with the ECI’s objectives. This commitment, with a deadline set by the end of 2023, marked a significant stride in addressing the concerns of 1.4 million European citizens who rallied behind this critical cause.

End the Cage Age is more than an animal welfare issue; it stands as a litmus test for the credibility of the ECI itself, the very bedrock of European participatory democracy. Failing to fulfill your own written commitment jeopardizes the trust citizens place in the EU’s democratic processes and institutions.

As the Commission’s 2024 Work Program is now under negotiation, we implore you to honor your commitment to European democracy and not erode the ECI’s potential to resonate with and mobilize citizens on critical issues. 

We also extend an open invitation to engage in a substantive discussion on this matter. The Commission must stand by its word and, in doing so, protect European democracy by demonstrating responsiveness to its citizens’ voices. The EU’s credibility and the trust of its citizens in democratic processes are at stake.


Civil society organizations