How to contact a MEP
Contacting our Elected Representatives is a very useful thing everybody can do, and you have the choice of several options. The contact information for all the Members of the European Parliament can be found on Memopol (email, telephone, address, twitter... with general information about the MEP).
Contact information of all members of:
- the “Civil liberties” (LIBE) Members are here
- the “Legal Affairs” (JURI) Members are here
- the “Industry” (ITRE) Members are here
- Most of all, learn more about the issue by reading our key documents.
- Stay polite and be yourself. Whatever happens, don't forget the basic rules of courtesy and common sense. Whether you agree or disagree with the individual answering to you, and whatever the views of other members of her/his political group, don't give a negative image of people who are advocating with the same purpose as you.
- Most of the time, you will exchange with a Parliamentary assistant, and not directly with a MEP. It's not a problem: engage the conversation. Assistants play an important role in the development of the MEPs' positions.
- If a question to which you don't have the answer comes up, don't panic. You are not expected to be an expert, only a concerned citizen. Tell the MEP you will research the answer and contact him/her back with more information, and come and ask us.
- If you're still not comfortable with the arguments, don't give up. Ask what is the MEP's position on the subject, and ask what are their arguments.
- During a phone call, don't hesitate to offer to call back with more information, to meet the MEP, to send documents, references, etc. Sometimes, Parliamentary assistants will ask you to send an e-mail. Don't hesitate to call back later to check if they've read it and what they thought of it.
The best way to carry your message to a MEP is to develop your argument verbally. In this way, you can adapt your speech to her/his answers, and express your great concern about the subject on which you are calling. MEPs do not receive many calls from citizens, then they are particularly sensitive to it.
To easily get in touch with the right MEPs during La Quadrature's campaigns, you can use our PiPhone. This tool will connected you to a Elected Representatives free of charge. If you enter your country, you will be connected to an MEP speaking your language.
In a first time, you can look this video of a call about ACTA, to give you an idea of how such a conversation may go.
Generally, conversations look like that:
- YOU: Hello, I'm [YourName], I'm an European citizen calling from [YourCountry], and I would like to talk to Mrs/Mr MEP, please.
- ASSISTANT: Mrs/Mr MEP is not available, I am her/his assistant. Can I help you?
- YOU: It would be a vote on [data protection] next week as far as I understand, and I want to know what Mrs/Mr MEP is going to vote.
- ASSISTANT: I see. We had calls before. I have no time.
- YOU: But it is very important! Concepts such “pseudonymous” data would be used as a derogation to safeguards by corporations that collect, process and trade our personal data.
- ASSISTANT: Don't worry. The text is not as bad as you've heard, everything will be fine.
- YOU: A lot of studies demonstrate that even if a personal data might seem anonymous, reidentification of the data subject becomes possible when the data is paired with other existing data. the citizens' right to privacy is endangered! Mrs/Mr MEP should vote against the weakening of the protection of EU citizens' privacy.
- ASSISTANT: Ok, I'll speak with Mrs/Mr MEP about it.
- YOU: Thank you very much for listening to me. If you wish, I can send you reference documents. I'll call you again shortly to know what he/she thought. Have a good day.
And now... Call again ;)
If you are not comfortable with the phone, you can also contact your MEP by email. Their addresses are available on Memopol.
Some people sometimes propose to send generic form emails to all MEPs (and even to those who does not vote in the related subject). We believe that such emails are useless, or even counterproductive. MEPs and their assistants know how to use a spam filter as well as you, and those emails end up in spam folder quickly. Generic form emails give the impression that you do not want to take the time to get interested on the matter, and does not reflect the number of people involved on it (a single person can send several messages). Worse, such emails increase the risk that the MEPs do not read the personalized emails on the same dossier, and finally hurting your cause. And if you really want to add your name to a text already written, then you would better sign a petition.
The best solution is to send personalized emails based on your own approach and your knowledge of the matter (Remember: you are not expected to be an expert, only a concerned citizen) and, if possible, according to the positions of the MEP political group.
Here is an example of email for Data Protection campaign to adapt:
Dear <Name of the MEP>,
The <Name of Committee> will soon be voting on the Commission proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation. This is a unique opportunity for MEPs to defend European citizens’ rights to privacy and data protection. You have the chance to develop a strong legal framework, inspiring good practice by business, guided by clear, predictable legal principles and enforcement, in an environment of trust.
Example A: I am therefore asking you to support <insert examples of key issues, e.g. a strong definition of consent / a narrow framing of legitimate interest / a clarification of the right to erasure / a general prohibition for all kinds of profiling.>
Example B: I am therefore asking you to support / reject the following amendments : <List of Amendments>
Dear <Name of the MEP>,
The vote of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on the Commission proposal for a General Data Protection Regulation is to take place shortly.
In the context of the recent disclosures made by the whistleblower Edward Snowden about the scale of the surveillance program put in place by government authorities and secret services, the preparation of this Regulation provides you a unique opportunity to put in place legislation to defend European citizens’ rights to privacy and data protection. You have the chance to develop a strong legal framework, inspiring good practice by business, guided by clear, predictable legal principles and enforcement, in an environment of trust, for many years.
However, the rapporteur Jan Philipp Albrecht seems willing to request a mandate to enter closed-doors negotiations, in a collegiate tripartite body. Such a mandate would severely cut short any chance of public debate, and would withdraw the possibility to amend the text before the first reading vote in Plenary, and to make the text even better in second reading. The legal framework to protect the privacy of citizens merits an open and transparent debate that is equal to the challenge represented by these issues.
I am therefore asking you to refuse the secrete tripartite negotiations, and to:
- defend the principle of explicit and informed consent for specific collection and processing of data,
- ask for the reintroduction of provisions to prevent foreign authorities from reclaiming your personal data to Internet companies,
- refuse the absurd concept of “pseudonymous” data to be used as a derogation to safeguards,
- delete any mention of “legitimate interests”,
- ensure that every breach of personal data is immediately notified to both relevant bodies and users, and be severely sanctioned,
- give data protection authorities the necessary power to protect our rights,
- prevent the use of profiling without the consent of the individual.
If you want to contact your Elected Representative in another way, you can find information about him/her on Memopol. For example, using twitter is a good way to give a better visibility to your message and to get an answer (See also Politwitts).