Parliament debates work of the petitions committee in 2011; Germans submit most petitions, not the UK as MEP expected
Sunday, 25 November 2012
During last week’s Parliamentary session in Strasbourg MEPs debated the annual report of the European Parliament's Petitions Committee and heard that almost 1,000 admissible petitions were received with the majority coming from citizens of Germany, Spain and Italy.
Opening the debate, the author of the report which covers the work of the Committee during 2011, South West Conservative MEP Giles Chichester, said the Committee had received 998 admissible petitions and that the majority of petitions focused on issues of fundamental rights, such as property and free movement issues, but also pointed out that most petitions concerned issues relating to the internal market and the environment.
“There are three topics of most importance: fundamental rights, the internal market and the environment. The citizens of Germany raise the largest number of petitions, closely followed by Spain and Italy, whereas the countries most frequently the subject of petitions are Spain and Germany – same countries, different order,” Mr Chichester said.
“I find that particularly interesting, bearing in mind my mailbag from constituents with concerns about Europe, because my Member State, the United Kingdom, comes about sixth or seventh on the list of petitioning countries, yet, from the perception of the way people in the UK view the EU, you would expect a higher proportion. I find that interesting.”
He also welcomed Parliament’s decision to develop a much more practical and visible petitions portal on its website, which should facilitate access to the petitions process.
“This report – and I have to say I am most impressed at the number of Members wishing to speak this evening – illustrates the importance which Members attach to the Petitions Committee and to our work. It is a vital platform for the citizens of the EU to air their concerns,” he said.
Petitions can be brought forward by any EU citizen on a matter within the EU's powers. The committee hears around 1,500 cases a year and can resort to legal proceedings if it is necessary to resolve the citizen's dispute.
Hailing from the truly beautiful South West region of the UK, Andrew now works in Brussels and is a UK passport holder, European citizen, and a twice employee at the European Parliament.
While the EU in its current form is far from perfect, he is nonetheless firmly of the belief that the UK's prosperity and place in the world is best served as a member state and not as an isolated bystander.
Since October 2009, this blog seeks to document the work that our region's MEPs do for us in Brussels. As such, predictably, it rarely features UKIP.