Renew Europe wants a European Union with citizens' rights at its core

Author: Caroline Rhawi

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Ensuring EU citizens their right to be heard is on the European Parliament's agenda today as the Committee of Petitions (PETI) adopts two reports seeking to empower citizens and reinforce their ability to engage meaningfully in the EU's decision-making.

Renew Europe stresses that all obstacles preventing citizens from fully exercising their rights must be tackled. And as the many petitions from citizens have shown - concerning everything from restrictions to the free movement to violations of the principle of non-discrimination - there is a lot to address. Hence, in the EU Citizenship Report for the year 2020, striving to empower citizens and protect their rights, we push for a comprehensive assessment of the rights of EU citizens together with well-defined actions and legislative initiatives to meet the complaints.

Yana Toom, Renew Europe's coordinator in the PETI Committee and the rapporteur on the EU Citizenship Report for 2020, said about her report:

"The rights of EU citizens enshrined by the treaties are one of most tangible results of the European Union. My priority for this report was not only to ensure equitable access to these rights but also to find new ways to enhance EU Citizenship rights. That is why we are proposing a range of measures to address barriers to the freedom of movement alongside proposals for using technology to facilitate electoral rights and citizen participation."

In the second report, focusing on increasing citizen's ability to engage in EU agenda-setting, our group underlines the need to improve the existing instruments for citizens to voice their concerns and ideas. For instance, our group highlight the necessity for more transparency, better accessibility of the European Citizens' Initiative tool, smarter ways of informing citizens about the EU Ombudsman and improved structures to handle petitioners' requests, all to facilitate and encourage citizens' participation.

Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, the rapporteur on the report on Engaging with the Citizens, said:

"As Renew Europe defends the role that everyone can play in the European decision-making process, the EU participative instruments must be improved to be easier to access and have tangible effects. There is no European democracy if citizens are not involved."

ENDS