Here you will find ways to make contact with various organisations in the European Union. Most of these are online and on the Europa website. Be sure to ask your teacher first before you leave the EU4Schools website!
The handiest way to ask a question about the EU is by sending a letter or an email to the Commission using the Europe Direct web page. The reply may take some time but it usually gives you the information you need.
Have a look around the page, there are many different ways to contact the Commission here.
Your Member of the European Parliament represents you at EU level. You can contact him or her directly to ask a question or make a suggestion, or to bring to their attention something you think is important.
It is a good idea to find out a little bit about them before you decide who to contact. Each MEP will have their own particular interests and many will be on specialists committees or working groups depending on these. If you can match up the right MEP to your concerns you are half way there already.
You will need to find out the names of your MEPS, they are all listed on the European Parliament website according to which EU country they represent:
LOOK HERE to find your MEP. Someone from your region, city or town may well be especially interested in hearing from you. You will have something in common. They may even have gone to the same school as you!
You can see a full list as well according to which political party they are members of, click under ‘total’ for your country listing to see the full list of MEPs.
How to Petition the EuroParl
There is an online form that EU citizens can use to send in their petition – or suggestion – directly to the European Parliament. Remember it must be about something that the EU can influence – that is a topic that is related to EU policies.
It is quite a formal process and will ask for identification details. Have a look at it but ask your teacher before you fill it in.
The Citizens Initiative is a way for the citizens of the EU to make a submission to the European Commission to ask for a new law to be proposed.
This requires one million citizens to make the petition to the European commission.
The first Citizens Initiative can be launched from 1st April 2012
It allows citizens to ask the EU Commission to propose a new law – this might be a new Directive for example – but remember after that the process continues in the normal way through all the various democratic structures of the EU.
The rules about who can make this are quite complicated.
It must be made by a citizens committee
this must have at least 7 members
This must have members living in at least 7 EU countries.
there will have one year to collect the statements (this is how people ‘sign’ the petition
These statements have to be officially certified
There must be at least 1 million citizens and these must be form at least one quarter of EU countries.
After they receive it the Commission will have 3 months to consider what to do next. (for example, the proposal must be reasonable, in line with other EU laws, and something that it is possible for the Commission to do).
This is something very new for the EU – it is part of the Lisbon Treaty.
You are going to make a real life submission to the EU! This is the word used when you write to the EU with an idea or a request. This is one of the most important ways you can make your voice heard by the European Union.
Follow these guidelines – and remember, the better your research is the better your proposal will be, and the more likely it is to end up being used.
One way to influence the EU is to have the best ideas. Often it is the people who present a good solution or who have the most useful information who are the ones who are listened to. Be sure to ask your teacher for advice and permission before you start.
And remember – this is real !!!!!!
There is more than one way to make a submission
Sometimes there is a ‘call for submissions’ by the European Commission. If not there are other ways to put your ideas forward.
Decide which bit of the EU it is best to contact – this will depend a lot on the subject of your proposal. more often than not it should be sent to the European Parliament, your MEP or to the European Commission.
There are also ‘Green Papers’ – these are draft versions of the new rules and people are asked to read these and to make a comment.
Finally, if it is the sort of proposal that is of interest to people all over the EU it might be sent in as a Citizens Initiative, but this is a very big undertaking and involves people from several countries working on it together.
How to prepare your submission
To make your submission to the EU follow these guidelines.
Write under these main headings. Use images and diagrams, but sparingly on this occasion – only if they act to explain or provide evidence. (Your submission could even be in the form of a video or animation!).
This is the title of your submission
You proposal in one line. This helps the person reading it to make sure it goes to the right department or people who need to see it.
The Problem Stated
Here you describe in some detail what needs to be improved or what is going wrong. Remember to write about negative things as calmly as possible. Make it clear which bits are just facts and which bits are your opinion – both are important, but for this purpose it needs to be clear which is which.
The Situation now
Here you give an account of how things are now and have always been. This is a general overview, the sort of sub-headings you might like to use are:
Public policy – (this is about rules, laws and arrangements made by the county council, city council already)
EU Policy – (this is about what the EU is already doing or has done in the past)
The Improvements you suggest
This is where you put forward your ideas for a solution or a better way to do things
Calls for Submissions from the Commission
When the EU Commission asks for suggestions from the public it is called ‘a call for submissions’.
The Commission will ask for submissions about proposed new laws. This is to give everyone concerned a chance to put forward their concerns and ideas. These can come from individuals but it is more usual for a group of people with a similar interest to make a submission together.
Find out what ‘Calls for Submissions’ are being invited now.
Some of these can be very technical and specialist. What is on it will vary a lot depending on the current business of the European Commission. Sometimes there are a lot and on topics you may want to contribute to, other times not.
How to respond
Get your teacher to help with this bit, especially the part about filling in who you are.
Go to the web page for the Open Consultations page of the Commission – you will see a long list of topics. Select one of these, and click on ‘more information’ (it is on the right hand side of the page).
This will take you to the web page about this topic. Now you scroll down the page.
You will find you come to a heading that says ‘how to submit your contribution’ and the option to select ‘citizen’ (that’s you!) and then you follow the instructions.
Or you may find a heading that says ‘Questionnaire’ or ‘Consultation Questionnaire’ or sometimes it says ‘Survey’. You can select one of these and fill it in online. There is usually a space on these forms for you to give your opinion as well.
Sometimes there is an option to submit a Report or a Proposal, in which case there will usually be an email address to send it to.
These are the first draft of the new rules. They are usually very long and very detailed, and depending on the topic they can be very technical. The people who are going to be affected by the new rules generally are also experts in the area so they are more than able to make contributions.