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The ECI Campaign joins End the Cage Age legal action

“For the sake of EU democracy”
The ECI Campaign joins End the Cage Age legal action

Today (27 June) The ECI Campaign (Association for the ECI e.V.) has asked the European Court of Justice to act as intervener in the landmark End the Cage Age (EtCA) legal action against the European Commission.

The action aims to hold the European Commission to account for failing to deliver its promise to publish proposals to ban caged animal farming before the end of 2023.

In 2021, the Commission made a clear commitment to introduce legislative proposals for an EU ban on caged farming before the end of 2023. This followed the successful EtCA ECI campaign, led by Compassion in World Farming and supported by 170 European NGOs from across the EU, which secured the signatures of more than 1.4 million EU citizens.

Anticipating the Commission’s failure to deliver on its promise, The ECI Campaign co-initiated an open letter in October 2023, co-signed by 69 civil society organisations, calling upon the Commission to “stand by its word and, in doing so, protect European democracy by demonstrating responsiveness to its citizens’ voices.” Unfortunately, the Commission refused to heed the call.

Launched by the Citizens’ Committee of the EtCA ECI in March 2024, this legal case is the first to hold the Commission to account over its failure to act on an ECI that it has committed to deliver. If successful, the Commission would be compelled by the Court to establish a clear and reasonable timescale to bring forward the legislative proposals, and to grant access to its file on the EtCA ECI.

Carsten Berg, Director of The ECI Campaign, said: “It’s not only the fate of animals that hangs in the balance here, it’s also the fate of the ECI, and with it, the fate of EU democracy. Never before has an EU participation instrument resulted in significant EU policy change. The Commission’s promise in response to the “End the Cage Age” ECI was unique in that respect. The Commission’s failure to act on its promise undermines the integrity of the ECI and participatory democracy in the EU. It’s highly regrettable that it seems to require intervention by the Court to hold the Commission to its own words, but if that is what it takes, we are here for it.”

Next to The ECI Campaign, several other major NGOs, including Eurogroup for Animals, foodwatch and Animal Equality, have also requested to become interveners in the legal action. In order to be deemed admissible as interveners, the Court must accept that the Commission’s failure to deliver its promise has directly impacted their interests.

Supporters are being urged to back the legal action by sharing posts about the case on social media tagging the European Commission (@EU_Commission).


For more information or to arrange interviews, please email Dr. Carsten Berg berg@citizens-initiative.eu or call +49-761-48806364 or +49-1764-3064365

Notes to editors

  1. The End the Cage Age ECI is the first ECI to ever secure a proper commitment by the European Commission.
  2. The Citizens’ Committee of the ECI End the Cage Age consists of: Olga Kikou, of Greece; Malgorzata Szadkowska of Poland; Leopoldine Charbonneaux of France; Romana Sonkova of Czechia; Geert Laugs of the Netherlands; Annamaria Pisapia of Italy; and Mahi Klosterhalfen of Germany. A photo of the seven members can be downloaded here.
  3. The ECI Campaign is a civil society organisation that strives for the successful introduction and implementation of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) – the world’s first and only tool of transnational, participatory and digital democracy. Without endorsing the subject matter of individual ECI campaigns, the organisation supports (potential) ECI organisers to make use of their democratic rights and it works towards improving the instrument. The Association for the ECI e.V. serves as the legal base of the organisation as of 2015.
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