Petitions

 
One of the fundamental rights of European citizens:

Any citizen, acting individually or jointly with others, may at any time exercise his right of petition to the European Parliament under Article 227 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

 

Any citizen of the European Union, or resident in a Member State, may, individually or in association with others, submit a petition to the European Parliament on a subject which comes within the European Union's fields of activity and which affects them directly. Any company, organisation or association with its headquarters in the European Union may also exercise this right of petition, which is guaranteed by the Treaty.

A petition may take the form of a complaint or a request and may relate to issues of public or private interest.

The petition may present an individual request, a complaint or observation concerning the application of EU law or an appeal to the European Parliament to adopt a position on a specific matter. Such petitions give the European Parliament the opportunity of calling attention to any infringement of a European citizen's rights by a Member State or local authorities or other institution.

 
 
Procedures for submitting a petition to the European Parliament:
 
Who can submit a petition, and on what subjects?
Who can submit a petition?

You can submit a petition if you are:

  • a citizen of the European Union,
  • a resident in a European Union Member State,
  • a member of an association, company, organisation (natural or legal person) with its headquarters in a European Union Member State.
What subjects can your petition deal with?

The subject of the petition must be concerned with issues of European Union interest or responsibility such as:

  • your rights as a European citizen as set out in the Treaties,
  • environmental matters,
  • consumer protection,
  • free movement of persons, goods and services, internal market,
  • employment issues and social policy,
  • recognition of professional qualifications,
  • other problems related to the implementation of EU law.

Important Note: Requests for information only are not dealt with by the Committee on Petitions, neither are general comments on EU policy.

What language should the petition be in?

The petition must be written in one of the official languages of the European Union.

For further information see:
  • Article 227 of the TFEU
  • Rules of Procedure: Rules 201, 202
 
 
What action is taken in the case of admissible petitions?

If the subject of your petition concerns an area of activity of the European Union it will normally be declared admissible by the Committee on Petitions, which will then decide what type of action should be taken, according to the Rules of Procedure.

Whatever is decided, the Committee on Petitions will inform you as soon as possible after the decision has been reached.

Depending on the circumstances, the Committee on Petitions may:

  • ask the European Commission to conduct a preliminary investigation and provide information regarding compliance with relevant Community legislation or contact SOLVIT,
  • refer the petition to other European Parliament committees for information or further action (a committee might, for example, take account of a petition in its legislative activities),
  • in some exceptional cases prepare and submit a full report to Parliament to be voted upon in plenary ; or conduct a fact-finding visit to the country or region concerned and issue a Committee report containing its observations and recommendations;
  • or take any other action considered appropriate to try to resolve an issue or deliver a suitable response to the petitioner.

Meetings of the Committee on Petitions take place every month, as a rule, except during the month of August when Parliament is in recess. The Committee is assisted in its work by a permanent secretariat which manages the petitions process, has an advisory role and which prepares meetings of the Committee.

The Petitions Committee of the European Parliament may seek to cooperate with national or local authorities in Member States to resolve an issue raised by a petitioner. Details of petitions may therefore be shared with such authorities unless the petitioner specifically objects.

The Petitions Committee cannot, however, override decisions taken by competent authorities within Member States. As the European Parliament is not a judicial authority: it can neither pass judgement on, nor revoke decisions taken by, the Courts of law in Member States. Petitions seeking such courses of action are inadmissible.

For further information see:
 
 
Inadmissibility, publication of petitions
Inadmissibility of a petition

If your petition does not fall within the area of activity of the European Union it will be declared inadmissible. This could be because the subject is clearly the responsibility and competence of the Member State.

Petitions declared inadmissible by the Committee on Petitions are filed and no further action is taken. The Committee will however notify you of its decision.

Depending on the subject of your petition, the Committee on Petitions may advise you to contact a non-EU body (e.g. the European Court of Human Rights) or a national authority (e.g. the national ombudsman or petitions committees in the Member State parliaments).

Please note that questions concerning maladministration within the Institutions or bodies of the EU should be addressed to the European Ombudsman.

For further information see:
Publication of petitions

Petitioners are advised that minutes are published in the Official Journal. Certain details, including the name of the Petitioner and the number of the petition are consequently available on the Internet. This has implications for the protection of individual data and petitioners' attention is drawn to this specifically. If, as a petitioner, you do not wish your name to be disclosed, the European Parliament will respect your privacy, but such requests must be clear and explicitly mentioned in your petition. Similarly, if you wish your petition to be treated in confidence it should also be clearly requested. The Committee attaches importance to the transparency of its meetings which may be web-streamed. Proceedings may therefore be observed on any normal computer via the EP web-site. Committee meetings are held in public and petitioners are able to attend if they so request, if and when their petition is discussed.

For further information see:
 
 
 
 
Tools
 
 
What form should the petition take?
 

There are two ways of submitting a petition:

  • by post
  • via the online form

The petition should be comprehensive and include all facts pertinent to the issue, but should omit superfluous details. It should be written clearly and legibly and may be accompanied by a summary.

by post:

If you wish to submit a petition in 'paper' form, there is no form to be filled in or standard format to be followed.

However, your petition must:

  • bear your name, nationality and permanent address (in the case of a group petition, it must bear the name, nationality and permanent address of the presenter or, at least, the first signatory);
  • be signed.

Your petition may include attachments, including copies of any supporting documents you may have.

The petition should be sent to:

  • European Parliament
  • The President of the European Parliament
  • Rue Wiertz
    B-1047 BRUSSELS
 
 
via the online form:

If you wish to submit a petition using the online form, you should:

  • read the information and instructions given online on the Petitions pages of the European Parliament website, and then
  • complete the online form and click on 'Send'.

As soon as you have submitted your petition using the online form, you should receive electronic confirmation that it has been received.

It will then be forwarded to the Committee on Petitions, which is responsible for managing the petition process and formulating recommendations and conclusions for each petition. Petitions which are submitted but which contain offensive language or which lack pertinence in their substance will not be investigated by the Committee, nor will a response be given.

In any further correspondence concerning action taken on the petition, the Committee on Petitions will communicate by post.

If you wish to attach any supplementary information or supporting documents to your petition, please send them by post, mentioning the petition number, to the following address:

  • European Parliament
  • Committee on Petitions
  • The Secretariat
  • Rue Wiertz
    B-1047 BRUSSELS
 
 
 
 

The Committee on Petitions is composed of 34 Members and is headed by a Chairman and 4 Vice-Chairmen.