Jean Lambert, the Green MEP for London, called on her fellow MEPs to support a new initiative that will make it easier for citizens to have their voices heard within the EU at a meeting held in Strasbourg today.
The European Civil Society House project, which is the proposal of the European Citizen Action Centre (ECAS), aims to make it easier for individual citizens and NGOs to participate in the decision-making process of the EU and enforce their European rights, through facilitating the use of petitions, citizens’ initiatives and requests for documents.
This will be achieved in two ways: through the creation of a physical building in Brussels, that will bring together European associations in the areas of human rights, civil society development and citizen participation, who will seek to share skills, knowledge and resources, and provide face-to-face help. The ECSH will also exist virtually online so that citizens can access help, advice and information anywhere within the union.
Jean, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, said: “The low turnout at last year’s European Parliament elections brought home the fact that European Citizens are disengaged with the EU. One of the reasons for this disinterest is because many feel they are shut-out from the process through the lack of information easily available and minefield of jargon to wade through.
“It is not just lobbyists and private interest groups that should have a say in how the EU is run, European citizens need to be heard and the ECSH will help this dialogue through offering a physical and virtual outlet for information, help and advice. A survey conducted by ECAS has already found that over 90 per cent of those polled support the project and I ask my fellow MEPs to do the same.”
Notes to Editors
ECAS was created in 1990 as an international non-profit organisation, independent of political parties, commercial interests and the EU Institutions. ECAS’s mission is to enable NGOs and individuals to make their voice heard with the EU by providing advice on how to lobby, fundraise, and defend European citizenship rights.
For further information on the ECSH see – http://www.citizenhouse.eu/