The European Parliament received 1 357 petitions during the European election year, marking an 11,23 % increase from 2018.
On Tuesday, the Committee on Petitions adopted their report on deliberations for 2019 with 33 votes in favour, none against. Each year, MEPs give a comprehensive overview of their committee work, including statistics on received petitions and assessments of other parliamentary activities such as adoption of reports, organisation of hearings and relations with other EU institutions.
The draft report highlights that the right to petition the European Parliament is one of the fundamental rights of EU citizens, which offers an open, democratic and transparent mechanism to directly address their elected representatives. At the same time, information provided in petitions is valuable for learning about cases of misapplication or breaches of Union law, and allows Parliament and other EU institutions to assess its transposition and impact on EU citizens and residents, and whenever possible find resolutions.
Environment, fundamental rights and justice
Most petitions submitted in 2019 were related to environmental issues (252), in particular waste management, protection, preservation and pollution; followed by fundamental rights (189), notably the rights of the child, voting rights and EU citizens’ rights, in particular in the context of Brexit; and justice (184). Similar to previous years, the committee received a high number of petitions related to health (97), transport (90), the internal market (89), employment (79) and education and culture (62).
While the number of petitions concerning disabilities has decreased in comparison with previous years, the committee reminds of its specific role within the EU in the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the special attention given to petitions on inclusive education for disabled children throughout the year.
European Citizens’ Initiative
Petitions MEPs believe it is essential for citizens be get involved directly in EU law-making and welcome the new rules for the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), aimed at making the tool more user friendly and accessible. Yet more needs to be done by the European Commission in response in order to turn this instrument into a “real success of European participatory democracy” in the eyes of citizens. They therefor urge the Commission to put forward a legislative proposal for any successful ECI supported by Parliament.
The report welcomes the active participation and contribution in PETI of the European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly, who was re-elected by Parliament in 2019. As the committee responsible for maintaining relations with the Ombudsman, the committee played a key role in organising transparent and efficient public hearings for the candidates for the post in 2019, reminds the text.
Find more information on petition statistics by country, language, nationality and subject here.