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European Citizens' Initiative

ECI at school

A teacher interacts with a classroom full of students

'EU Democracy in Action - Have Your Say with the European Citizens' Initiative' toolkit for schools

What makes young people take action on an issue they care about? What actions can they take as citizens of the European Union?  What is possible when we work together – and across borders – on issues that matter?  

Engage your students with the new 'EU Democracy in Action - Have Your Say with the European Citizens' Initiative' toolkit for schools

To become active citizens, young people need to understand how democracy works and what their rights and responsibilities are. The ‘EU Democracy in Action' toolkit introduces pupils to the European Citizens’ Initiative and encourages them to take an active role in European issues. It is aimed at high school pupils in their last two years of school.

Through instruction, research, debate, project work and role play, pupils will learn how decisions are made in the EU, how these decisions affect their everyday lives, and, most importantly, how the European Citizens’ Initiative allows them to join with others to shape EU policy on issues that they care about. 

"My students found the module really interesting. They felt intrigued by the tasks and had a lot of fun, especially while making a video for their ECI - a good combination of education and entertainment (edutainment)."  - Małgorzata, secondary school teacher from Poland

The course is suitable for citizenship or civics classes; it would also work as part of a project-based, foreign language class, or CLIL course. It is available in all the official EU languages.

Learn more and download the toolkit

EU Democracy in Action - Have Your Say with the European Citizens' Initiative

Introducing the toolkit

webinar took place in May 2023 to introduce educators to the toolkit. A recording of the webinar and the powerpoint slides (in English only) are found below.

You can also listen to the episode of the 'CitizenCentral' podcast "The ABCs of ‘EU Democracy in Action’ - presenting a European Citizens’ Initiative Toolkit" (in English only).

Watch the recording

Toolkit Webinar powerpoint
Powerpoint presentation used to introduce the educational toolkit
(13.42 MB - PPTX)

The ImagineEU video competition and its winners

The ImagineEU competition was organised in the 2023/2024 school year to accompany the launch of the 'EU Democracy in Action - Have Your Say with the European Citizens' Initiative' educational toolkit for schools. 

The competition called on young Europeans in their last two years of secondary school to learn more about how to be active citizens in the EU. They were invited to think of concrete ideas that can make the EU an even better place to live, and that could benefit citizens across the European Union – building on the concept of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), an important tool of participatory democracy in the EU, allowing citizens to take an active part in EU policymaking. 

In groups of up to 7 classmates, students were asked to present their creative ideas in a short video. Over 400 videos were submitted. 388 videos that complied with the competition rules were published for public voting. 

In the final stage, a jury assessed the 50 most voted videos to determine the three winning teams. 



The three winning teams were awarded a study trip to Brussels, the heart of the European Union, from 21 to 23 March 2024. 

During the trip, the teams had the opportunity to meet representatives of European Institutions to learn more about how EU policies and laws are made and how EU citizens can get involved with the European Citizens’ Initiative. 

Read the Commission's news of 22 March 2024 (in French).

Photo of the three winning teams

Award criteria

The 50 videos with the highest number of votes from the public voting were evaluated by a jury composed of representatives of the ECI community from EU institutions, national authorities and civil society organisations, as well as young trainees from the European Commission. The jury considered the following criteria: 

  • ECI-relevance (0-25 points): Is the idea in the video relevant as a topic for a European Citizens’ Initiative?   
  • Clarity (0-50 points): Is the message clear and concise?  
  • Creativity (0-25 points): Is the idea original? Does the team approach the idea in an interesting way?



The competition was organised by the European Commission Secretariat-General, SG.A.1 - Unit for Policy Priorities & Work Programme.


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