Citizens as participants
With the Treaty of Lisbon, people in the EU have the possibility of making a citizens’ initiative. It means that the citizens can propose a bill for a new law. To make a citizens’ initiative, at least one million EU citizens from several EU member states are required.
Citizens have the right to receive information about the EU’s activities and participate in them. The Ombudsman is there just for the citizens.
When decisions are prepared, many non-governmental organisations must be heard. Labour market organisations and religious and non-religious groups are asked to express their opinions on the issues that are being prepared. These organisations are heard as experts.
The democratic rights of the citizens are also guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Charter is now permanently included in the founding treaties. The fundamental rights forbid all discrimination and underlines that equality between nations and people is important.