The Past and Future of the Right to Petition the European Parliament: A Viable Alternative for Citizens’ Participation in the EU?

This paper performs an institutional analysis of the EU citizens’ right to petition the European Parliament (EP) and its legal regime under Article 227 TFEU and following the Schönberger judgment of the CJEU. Concerning inter-institutional relations, this right is first appraised from the perspective of the significant 'human capital' that was initially invested to prevent the establishment of the European Ombudsman and, post-Maastricht, in establishing workable relations with this EU body. The paper then examines the position of the Petitions’ Committee within the EP and argues that this Committee does not benefit from substantial resources to perform its functions and suffers from limited visibility. Lastly, the paper analyses the relationship between the petition right and the European Citizens’ Initiative and provides comparative insights into their functioning as tools for citizen involvement in the EU, before offering broader reflections on the future of the right of petition.