Exercising one's right to petition the European Parliament

All citizens of the European Union (EU) or persons residing in a Member State may submit a petition to the European Parliament, individually or collectively, on a matter falling within the sphere of competence of the European Union that concerns them directly, in accordance with Article 227 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

The petition, written in one of the official languages of the European Union, may take the form of a complaint or request and may relate to matters of public or private interest. These petitions allow the European Parliament to highlight a violation of the rights of a European citizen by a Member State or by local authorities or another institution.

Who is concerned

The following persons are entitled to present petitions:

  • any EU citizen;
  • any person residing in a Member State of the European Union;
  • any association, business, organisation (natural or legal person) having its registered office in a Member State.

Preliminary steps

The subject matter of the petition must be matters falling within the areas of competence of the European Union, namely:

  • the rights of European citizens as set out in the treaties;
  • environmental issues;
  • consumer protection;
  • the free movement of persons, goods and services, and the internal market;
  • employment and social policy issues;
  • recognition of professional qualifications;
  • other problems relating to the implementation of Community law.

How to proceed

Submission by post

For the presentation of a petition in written form on paper, there is no pre-established form to fill out or structure that the petition must follow.

However, applicants must comply with the conditions defined below:

  • they must state their name, nationality and residential address;
  • for collective petitions, the name, nationality and residential address of the presenter or the first signatory should be indicated;
  • the petition must be signed.

The petition may include annexes, including copies of supporting documents.

The petition must be addressed to the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament:

European Parliament - Committee on Petitions
60, rue Wiertz
B-1047 - Brussels
Belgium
Tel.: +32(0)2 28 42111
Fax: +32(0)2 28 46974
Website

Electronic submissions

To submit a petition electronically, a form is available on the European Parliament's website.

Once the petition is sent by e-mail, the sender will receive an acknowledgement of receipt via the same channel.

All additional information or supporting documents attached to the petition should be sent by ordinary mail to the following address and mention the number of the petition:

European Parliament - Committee on Petitions
60, rue Wiertz
B-1047 - Brussels
Belgium
Tel.: +32(0)2 28 42111
Fax: +32(0)2 28 46974
Website

The Committee on Petitions will use the postal system for any subsequent correspondence concerning the processing of a petition.

Admissibility of the petition

The petition is forwarded to the Committee on Petitions, which is responsible for conducting the petition procedure and preparing recommendations and conclusions for each of them.

If the petition concerns one of the European Union's fields of activity, it is usually declared admissible by the Committee on Petitions, which then decides on the type of action to be carried out, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament. The Committee on Petitions will inform the applicant as soon as possible once decisions have been taken.

Depending on the case, the Committee on Petitions may:

  • invite the European Commission to carry out a preliminary investigation and provide information on compliance with Community legislation in the field, or contact the SOLVIT network;
  • forward the petition to other committees of the European Parliament for information so that they can take action (such as take account of a petition in the course of their legislative activities);
  • in certain exceptional cases, prepare and submit a full report to the European Parliament for adoption in a plenary session, or carry out a fact-finding mission in the country or region concerned and publish a committee report containing its observations and recommendations;
  • adopt any other measure deemed appropriate to try to resolve the matter or to provide a satisfactory reply to the petitioner.

Processing of the petition

The Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament may endeavour to cooperate with the national or local authorities of a Member State to resolve a problem raised by a petitioner. To that end, it may have to share detailed information with them, unless the petitioner explicitly opposes it.

The Committee on Petitions cannot, however, overrule the decisions taken by the competent authorities of the Member States. Since it is not a judicial body, the European Parliament can neither pronounce judgement nor annul decisions taken by the courts of the Member States. Petitions for this purpose are inadmissible.

Inadmissibility of a petition

Mere requests for information and general comments on European Union policy are not taken into account by the Committee on Petitions.

If the petition does not fall within the sphere of activity of the European Union, it shall be declared inadmissible. Accordingly, this may be the case where its purpose clearly falls within the competence of the Member States.

Petitions declared inadmissible by the Committee on Petitions are filed and the applicants are informed that no action has been taken.

Depending on the subject of the petition, the Committee on Petitions may refer the petitioner to another body outside the jurisdiction of the European Union (such as the European Court of Human Rights) or to a national authority (such as the national ombudsman or the petitions committees in the parliaments of the Member States).

Questions concerning cases of maladministration in the work of the institutions or bodies of the European Union should be addressed to the European Ombudsman.

Advertisement of petitions

The petitions (in each case, the number and names of the petitioners, or the principal author in the case of a collective petition) shall be placed on a general roll in the order of their arrival and announced in a plenary session of the European Parliament. Such communications shall be included in the official record of the plenary session in which they were announced.

Petitioners should be aware that official records are published in the Official Journal and that, for this reason, certain information, such as the name of the petitioner and the number of the petition, is available on the internet. This has implications for the protection of personal data and the attention of the petitioners is drawn to this point in particular.

If the petitioner does not want their name to be disclosed, the European Parliament will respect that right to privacy. However, it is necessary to make this request clear and explicit in the petition. Similarly, if confidential handling of the petition is desired, it should be explicitly requested.

The Committee on Petitions is committed to transparency, so its meetings can be viewed online. It is therefore possible to follow its deliberations on any computer on the European Parliament website. Committee meetings are generally public. At their request, petitioners may be present when their petition is examined.

Who to contact

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