Today, the European Commission decided to register a European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) entitled ‘Stop (((5G))) - Stay Connected but Protected'. The organisers of the initiative call on the Commission to propose legislation to better protect all forms of life from certain alleged risks of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and microwave radiation, to protect against certain other alleged environmental impacts of 5G and related digitalisation, and to ensure effective protection, including against cybercrime, of personal data processed with these new forms of communication technology.
The decision to register is of a legal nature and it does not prejudge the final legal and political conclusions of the Commission on this initiative and the action it will intend to take, if any, in case the initiative obtains the necessary support.
As the ECI fulfils the formal conditions established in the relevant legislation, the Commission considers that this ECI is legally admissible. The Commission has not analysed the substance of the proposals at this stage.
The registration does not imply that the Commission in any way confirms the factual correctness of the content of the initiative, which is the sole responsibility of the group of organisers. In fact, a number of the claims made in this initiative run contrary to the body of scientific evidence available to the Commission, and to the assessments made by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the body mandated by the World Health Organisation to assess the risks for health.
The content of the initiative only expresses the views of the group of organisers, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the Commission.
Following today's registration, the organisers can start the process of collecting signatures. If an ECI receives 1 million statements of support within 1 year from at least 7 different Member States, the Commission will have to examine its content in detail and 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 1 million citizens from at least seven EU Member States to invite the European Commission to propose legal acts in areas where it 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 received 109 requests to launch an ECI, 84 of which were in fields where the Commission has the power to propose legislation and thus qualified to be registered.
The Commission stresses that the protection of public health is of paramount importance and taken into account in all its initiatives. When it comes to exposure limits for electromagnetic fields, including 5G, in particular, the EU has applied a precautionary approach by recommending maximum exposure limits with a wide safety margin, based on up-to-date and constantly reviewed scientific evidence. This means, that EU exposure limits for the general public are always at least 50 times lower than what international scientific evidence suggests as having any effect on health.
In addition, the European Commission remains committed to using up-to-date scientific evidence for its policy proposals. The Commission mandated in June 2021 the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) to provide scientific opinions on the need for a technical revision of the EU legislation in place (i.e. the annexes to Council Recommendation 1999/519/EC and Directive 2013/35/EU), in particular in view of the updated guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) of 2020. The independent scientific advisers will evaluate and take into account, as appropriate, all available evidence.
For More Information
European Citizens' Initiative - website