WRITING TO GOVERNMENT & REGULATIVE BODIES
– making it work –
7 Points to help you Write an effective letter
We have prepared the following information to help you write an effective letter to Government and/or Regulative bodies.
- Keep your letter short and to the point. One side of A4 should be enough. Long letters are less likely to be read.
- When sending a mail NEVER leave the subject line blank! Would you open a mail without subject? Try and make the subject/title imaginative.
Start any letter or mail with “Dear …” and end it with a suitable salutation; and at least your name and country.
- When writing to your local member of parliament give an address as well.
- Think about being effective, not just venting for your own satisfaction. For example, don’t write short spiteful emails with a single sentance e.g. “Murdering birds on Malta is barbaric and disgusting.” This may well express your feelings in a nutshell; but probably the only person who will read it is the campaign organiser!
- Introduce yourself. “As a life-long birder”, “as a concerned grandparent”, “professional conservationist” etc,. If writing to your local member of Pparliament make sure you let her or him know that you are a potential voter.
- Use demonstration letters as guides/inspiration. We have provided standard draft texts here, and many organised campaigns do the same. Use your own words in preference to the standard draft text if you can and if you have time. Proact background briefings on the relevant page of the website will explain how to get accross important points of the campaign and offer you key phrases to incorporate in your own text. Making the content of your letter personalised and relevant will make it have a more significant impact.
- Never be aggressive or rude, even if you are personally or emotionally involved with the subject. Be polite and constructive. Make sure you use the correct address and title. Any response you get back is much more likely to be helpful. If you have time, thank the respondent of your letter. This will help build a better relationship with them.
WHO YOU CAN WRITE TO IN THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS
The links below offer a starting point for you to understand they kinds of institutions available for concerned citizens to raise issues with Government and regulative bodies and have an EU bias. If you are not in the EU there will very likely be similar avenues that you can explore in your own nation. P arouse this page and then use keywords or concepts in examples below to search Google for the appropriate institutions in your own country.
[The links below refer to the English language link in all cases. The links to the European Union and the European Parliament are also available in all community languages. For the other languages change en in the link to: es Castellano: da Dansk: de Deutsch: el Elinika: fr français: it italiano: nl nederlands: pt português: fi suomi: sv svenska (the countries acceeding later will be added here in due course)]
General and detailed information
You can send a general request to the European Union, in your own language, using the form at
‘Your Voice in Europe’ is the European Commission’s single access point’ to a wide variety of consultations, discussions and other tools which enable you to play an active role in the European policy-making process: http://europa.eu.int/yourvoice/index_en.htm
Failure by a Member State to comply with Community law
Anyone may lodge a complaint with the Commission against a Member State about any measure (law, regulation or administrative action) or practice which they consider incompatible with a provision or a principle of Community law. There is an online explanation here http://europa.eu.int/comm/secretariat_general/sgb/lexcomm/index_en.htm which includes a form which you can print.
Petitions to the European Parliament
A petition to the European Parliaments Committee on Petitions can be submitted online at http://www.europarl.eu.int/petition/petition_en.htm?redirected=1 by individual citizens, organisations, associations, pressure groups, trade unions, etc.,
If you are a citizen of a Member State of the Union or living in a Member State, you can make a complaint to the European Ombudsman about maladministration in the activities of the institutions and bodies of the European Community. Maladministration means poor or failed administration. This occurs if an institution fails to do something it should have done, if it does it in the wrong way or if it does something that ought not to be done. You can contact the European Ombudsman by letter, telephone, telefax or email.
Contact details here
http://www.euro-ombudsman.eu.int/media/en/default.htm#Target1 or use the online electronic complaint form here
The European Commission President and Commissioners
You can address complaints direct to the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi whose homepage with contact details is here http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/prodi/index_en.htm or to the individual commissioners. Here, for example, is the homepage of the Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström with full contact details for her and her staff http://europa.eu.int/comm/commissioners/wallstrom/index_en.htm
How to contact your MEP
All MPs can be reached in writing at:
Bât. Altiero Spinelli
60, rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
Bât. Louise Weiss
Allée du Printemps
F-67070 Strasbourg Cedex
For further details such as address in the home country, telefax number or email, go to the http://wwwdb.europarl.eu.int/ep5/owa/p_meps2.repartition?ilg=EN&iorig=home website and click on your national flag, or the party grouping (parliamentary left hand column/national under the flag) if you know it. There is also an alphabetical search .
The links will lead you to details on the individual MEP.
Some MEPs do not disclose their email address although they all have one and WE pay for it. I sent a petition to the European Parliament http://groups.yahoo.com/group/proactupdates/message/103 on this but, after due deliberation, my petition was rejected on the grounds that the issues raised were inadmissible in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament. But I haven’t given up yet and will be appealing to the Ombudsman.
To find the concealed addresses of democracy or publicity-shy MEPs there are a few tricks available: The email address is in many cases made up of the following:
First letter of given name + surname (no dot or space and prefixed with di, de, van, von if applicable) + europarl.eu.int If the name is hyphenated, either the first or last part is used, for example:
Susan Yvonne Dubois-Jones = firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Not all unpublished addresses use this exact combination though. You may have to be patient and try out more than one variation (mail to them all and see which get rejected!).
Some MEPs publish the website of their home country party on their EP page. Follow the link and you can often find an email address via Europe or MEPs. As a last resort send an email to the party or grouping contact address and ask for it to be forwarded.
Another nice source is thenon-EU website Politic@l Groups Online in the EP. You must know which party your target is in and click on the appropriate symbol (do a mouseover for the name of the grouping in all community languages – the conservatives have a heart as symbol!)
The mail address is found as follows using the symbols from the top anti-clockwise:
Conservatives (PPE-DE or EPP-ED) click on Members in the horizontal menu and search by whichever category you like in the next window.
Social Democrats (European Socialists) click on MEPs in the vertical menu and search by letter of the alphabet or by name in the next window
Greens (The Greens Europe Free Alliance) click on About us in the horizontal menu and search under: Who is who, who does what? – The list of the members and their assistants.
Liberal Democrats (ELDR) use the drop down vertical menu About us – ELDR MEPS. A nice site. All MEPs have a direct email link which opens in your mail programme
The European United Left (GUE/NGL) use the drop down vertical menu About Meet the people then Meet the MEPs in the central box and on the MEPs name in the next window
Union for a Europe of Nations (UEN) this just leads you back in circles to the EP site where only 6 of the 23 MEPs have published their Email addresses. Better is clicking on LINKS in the vertical menu which takes you to links to the affiliated national parties. If you search here for the MEPs you will find, on the different sites, click on the symbol, email addresses (national or EP) for:
– France: none of the Rassemblement pour la France (except the President Chatrles Pasqua firstname.lastname@example.org)
– Ireland: all 6 Fianna Fáil MEPs
– Italy: (ignore the first link to Alleanza Nazionale) all of the Alleanza Nazionale Patto MEPs when you click on La Delegazione AN-Patto al Parlamento Europeo
– Portugal: Site under construction no information
– Denmark: Danks Folkeparti – to save time and struggling with Danish go direct to the group leaders website http://www.mogenscamre.dk/ and click on Kontakt for the groups secretariat email addresses.
Group for a Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD) The different national parties in this group are listed in the vertical menue. All links from individual members go back to the EP site where you will find email addresses for 3 from 3 Dutch MEPs; 0 from 3 France (Combats Souverainistes) but 2 have email addresses via personal websites; 1 from 6 France (Chasse, Pêche, Nature, Traditions); 1 from 3 Denmark (the June Movement) but the Presidents EP mail address is on his linked website; 1 from 3 (Booth – private) United Kingdom (UK Independence Party) and one more (Titford) via the UKIP website which is linked.