“It is of utmost importance that citizens are well-informed about the European Union and its functions. Lack of knowledge and information can easily result in lack of trust. Hence I welcome this session to give Gozitan youths and students a platform to raise their concerns,” said MEP Marlene Mizzi at the Ask Your MEP event in Gozo.
Marlene Mizzi was invited by the Gozo Europe Direct Information Centre (EDIC) as one of the keynote speakers at the event in Gozo College Secondary School in Victoria in her capacity as Member of the European Parliament.
The aim of the event was to give the opportunity to Gozitan youths and students to raise their concerns and issues related to the European Union and to have a better understanding of the European Parliament and the EU among the younger generation, for whom EU membership has been the reality for most of their lives and who don’t remember a time before it.
In her intervention, MEP Mizzi focused on the importance to pay attention to the European citizens’ voice in the European Parliament and warned that failing to do so can lead to a serious democratic deficit within the EU. “We need to move closer to citizens and to strengthen their communication with EU institutions,” said Marlene Mizzi.
MEP Marlene Mizzi said that as a Vice-Chair of the PETI Committee, she strongly believes that the European Parliament needs to raise awareness of the rights of the EU citizens, including the right to submit petitions to the European Parliament.
“The Petitions Committee empowers EU citizens with the right to bring issues which are important to them in their everyday lives to the EU Parliament, and to have their concerns specifically addressed by the MEPs and by Parliament,” said Marlene Mizzi.
MEP Mizzi spoke about other institutional mechanisms such as a complaint to the European Ombudsman, the European Citizens Initiative and the Single Digital Gateway. “The key element in all these mechanisms is to enable the voice of citizens to be heard by the EU institutions and to encourage a greater participative democracy,” said the Maltese MEP.
“I have been S&D rapporteur on all the different files dealing with cross-border solving tools, such as the European Ombudsman and the revision of the Citizens Initiative and the Single Digital Gateway. I believe that raising awareness and communication between EU citizens and the EU institutions is the only way forward for a healthy and better functioning Union,” concluded MEP Mizzi.