In 2022, people from across the European Union (EU) and elsewhere in the world turned to the European Parliament and its President, Roberta Metsola to request information, call for action to be taken, express their opinions, or suggest ideas on a wide range of topics.The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (Ask EP) replied in the 24 EU official languages.
In 2022, Ask EP received 10 839 individual messages and 35 151 campaign enquiries. Citizens wrote on various topics, notably the Russian invasion of Ukraine, EU democracy, energy, environmental protection, fundamental rights, social policy and many others. Ask EP also received questions related to the European Parliament and its Members, its traineeship offers and how to visit Parliament.
Most frequent topics in individual enquiries in 2022
The most frequently addressed topic in 2022 was matters concerning the European Parliament itself. The Parliament received more than 1 450 enquiries, in which citizens expressed interest in the Members of European Parliament and their activities, enquired about traineeship and job opportunities and the possibilities to visit Parliament. They also requested information on topics such as parliamentary questions, committee meetings and the right to petition.
The second most frequent topic on which citizens contacted Ask EP last year related to foreign affairs, with over 1 000 enquiries. In particular, people voiced their concerns following the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine; many of them were worried about the war in Ukraine and its consequences. Citizens also sent messages regarding other countries, such as China, Afghanistan and the protests in Iran.
Moreover, Parliament replied to approximately 430 enquiries in the area of freedom, security and justice. Citizens made comments and asked questions on various topics, such as the rule of law and democracy, legislation, migration and freedom of movement.
Finally, the European Parliament received many enquiries about citizens’ personal situations with requests for assistance to help them solve problems (financial support, legal aid, cross-border administrative issues, cases of discrimination, etc.). Although neither the European Parliament nor its President are able to resolve many of these types of requests directly, the Ask EP service provided citizens with a contact point and sources of information whenever possible.
Campaign messages sent to the European Parliament in 2022
As a response to political, humanitarian and economic events, citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament, expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. These messages may sometimes be identical, as part of wider public campaigns.
Between June and September 2022, the President received a large number of messages – almost 17 700 – calling on the House of European History to remove a poster of ‘the Madonna and Christ of Czestochowa with rainbow halos’ from a temporary exhibition.
The Board of Trustees of the House of European History responded, highlighting the story around the poster, as explained and contextualised in the exhibition. It also pointed out that the exhibition presented the views of both critics and proponents of the poster. The poster was one of about 150 selected to be part of the ‘When Walls Talk’ exhibition of posters illustrating European society over the last century.
Since February 2022, the President has received around 1 600 messages calling on her to defend pro-life positions, in particular following a suggestion by French President Emmanuel Macron to include the right to abortion in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.
In the past, the European Parliament has called on EU countries to safeguard individuals’ rights to make their own informed choices, while recognising that the EU has no direct powers to deal with sexual and reproductive health and rights in EU countries. More recently, the European Parliament proposed to include the right to safe and legal abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. President Metsola has indicated that she would defend Parliament’s position on abortion.
Since November 2022, following the death in police custody of 22 year-old Mahsa Amini, both the European Parliament and its President have received messages requesting support for the protests in Iran. Parliament condemned the killing, as well as the widespread and disproportionate use of force by Iranian security forces against protesting citizens. Parliament called on the Iranian authorities to immediately release and drop any charges against demonstrators.
The President also received almost 900 enquiries from citizens calling on the EU to recognise Georgia’s progress towards EU accession.
A separate campaign, which sent more than 500 messages, called on the President to award the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Julian Assange, co-founder of WikiLeaks (the prize was awarded to The Brave People of Ukraine).
Are you curious about our answers to other campaign messages in 2022? You can find replies to campaigns as well as posts on topical themes on the EPRS blog. A selection of other answers to questions frequently posed to the European Parliament can also be found on the blog.
If you wish, you can put your questions and/or comments to the Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (Ask EP), using our contact form, the Citizens’ app, or by post. We reply in the EU language that you use to write to us.
We look forward to your enquiries in 2023 and beyond!
Your Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (Ask EP)