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EU citizens mostly petition parliament on environment, justice matters

Citizens turn to the European Parliament’s petition committee to voice their concerns on matters relating to the environment, justice, internal market, animal welfare and fundamental rights

16 December 2016, 1:25pm
The European Parliament’s plenary this week approved by an overwhelming majority the Parliament Report on the Annual Report on the activities of the Committee on Petitions.

In her capacity as a vice-chair of the PETI Committee during the plenary debate on Thursday morning, Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi said that in times of growing dissatisfaction and mistrust among European citizens calling the European project into question, the work of the Petitions Committee is more important than ever.

The activities of the Petitions Committee are dictated by the petitions, which are submitted to it by citizens exercising their right to petition the EP.

“It’s high time for Europe to give its people importance by taking into consideration and acting on their concerns and aspirations,” Mizzi said.

“The Petitions Committee in the European Parliament empowers people with the right to come to parliament and bring forward issues which are important to them, or any problem they face for which they seek the Parliament's intervention.”

The 2015 annual statistics showed that most citizens turn to parliament for assistance with matters relating to the environment, justice, the internal market, animal welfare and fundamental rights.

“The Petitions Committee and the right to submit a petition to the European Parliament are an important bridge between the citizens and the EU that can make the work of the European Union more accountable providing a real added value to its citizens.”

Mizzi argued that the PETI committee’s work needs to be redesigned around the needs of the citizens: “We need to provide timely response to petitioners, while ensuring the quality of the answers and a proper follow up to petitioners’ complaints. The Committee also needs to improve its web portal to enable simpler, clearer and more transparent way for petitioners to submit their complaints.”

She said that the positive or negative experiences and treatments petitioners receive will further shape their attitude towards the European Union and their opinion on the relevance of the European Parliament and the EU.