Last night we had our first Focus Call of 2011 titled ‘Back to Basics: The EU‘. The aim of the call was discuss the workings of the European Union and how, as advocates, we can find ways to influence its decision making structures. Please click here to listen to a recording of the call.
Our special guest speaker was Romina Vegro, EU Policy Officer at Bond. Romina discussed the three main institutional bodies of the EU: The European Commission, The European Parliament and The European Council. She explained the way in which the three institutions relate to one another and how development issues are dealt with by the three bodies. She also discussed the new European Action Service and its emerging role in development issues.
Romina then went on to explain how the EU budgetary cycle works and how and when it can be influenced. She described, in detail, the ways in which MEPs interact with one another, their corresponding parties in the UK and with the European Parliament itself.
In the question and answer session at the end of the call, there was further discussion of how to locate and learn about your MEP and their interests and how best to contact them. The call was an excellent introduction into the mechanics of European policy making and will provide our grassroots with a great basis for taking our next action.
In February we will be asking our grassroots to write to their MEPs asking them to raise the issue of EU funding to GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunisations) at their upcoming pledging conference with both DfID and with the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Baroso.