For centuries, the petition has served as a means of direct communication with the state authorities. Recently, this instrument has become increasingly important throughout Europe due to innovations in the field of information and communication technologies. The internet in particular provides the general public with easier and more transparent access to the petition process through e-petitions. In this way, citizens can submit or present their own ideas, conceptions or complaints. In particular, public online petitions, through the possibility of co-signing, can be seen as an innovation that contributes to improved citizen participation and can counteract a general disenchantment with politics and political parties. As no systematic overview of the practice and procedures used by the parliamentary petition bodies of the EU member states existed until now, the aim of the project was to close this gap. To this end, the project team conducted a comprehensive survey of all parliamentary petition bodies in the European Union in addition to internet and literature research. The survey aimed to locate petition bodies and their practice in the political system and to record reform and modernisation efforts. The project team paid particular attention to the use of modern information and communication technologies in the petition sector. The results were summarised in an expert report and handed over to the German Bundestag.

Duration: 09/2009 – 04/2010
Client: Deutscher Bundestag
Team: Nicolas Bach, Dr. Birgit Böhm
Project partner: Freie Universität Berlin, Büro für Technik-Folgenabschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag (TAB)