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The right of petition is the right of any EU citizen, and any natural or legal person residing or having its registered office in an EU country, to submit a request or complaint to the European Parliament on a matter which comes within the EU’s fields of activity and which affects him, her or it directly (Article  227 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

Petitions are defined as follows:

  • ‘for information’ (indicating where further information may be obtained);
  • ‘for further action’ (take into account in legislative proposals or political action);
  • ‘for opinion’ (requiring a written response from the competent Parliamentary Committee).

The Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, which does its work on behalf of EU citizens and residents, considers whether such requests are admissible. Where it sees fit, it may refer a question to the Ombudsman. When drawing up an opinion on a petition deemed to be admissible, it may ask the European Commission for documents or information. It can also send the petition to other parliamentary committees for information purposes in order for them to take action. In certain exceptional cases, the Committee on Petitions can submit a report to the Parliament for adoption in plenary session or conduct a fact-finding mission.