What Happens When You Email Each of the 1,380 Members of the German and European Parliaments

Published on September 27, 2017 (↻ June 2, 2021), filed under (RSS feed for all categories).

Over the last couple of months I have emailed, each individually, all the 631 members of the (departing) German Bundestag as well as 749 members of the European Parliament (I was short two MEPs).

Why? A test balloon, to actually take some action and overcome the idea that one couldn’t do anything (other than clicking around, or engaging in public protest at the other end of the spectrum); to stress ideas that I deem constructive and important.

What did I write? A polite and brief request for the strengthening of our rights and the exercising of more trust. A final email to five European Parliament mailing lists may give a taste:

Could you, in your most important work, please make sure that European politics do not only protect and strengthen the rights of the European people (notably the right to privacy), but also of people everywhere?

Could you, with the responsibility and also accountability of your offices, make sure to lead by example, to […] guide in ways that put people and their rights and their fulfillment first, that protect nature and life on this planet, and then, and only then, make provisions to represent the interests of corporations and organizations?

(If this sounds naive, I’m an idealist, and if populist, I liked to make a point.)

What was the reaction, after having allowed for at least four weeks of response time? The following.

Parliament Mails sent of which bounced or got a response which was personal
Deutscher Bundestag 631 26 8 4
European Parliament 749 11

It seems most troubling and frustrating at first: Not a single member of the European Parliament has responded to email. Not one. (There were a few auto-responders, however, but that’s of course no response.)

Likewise troubling seems the fact that only 8 representatives responded at all (interestingly, most of them Greens); 4 through their staff, 4, although that’s not really possible to tell, personally.

Then, however, I have not asked questions, I have asked for actions, and what is one to respond; and even though these actions are about civil rights, and I have hoped for a greater response, it makes it difficult to truly assess these representatives’ responses.

But the numbers are really only secondary here.

The important piece to take away is that contacting our representatives is an option we have. There’s some doubt now, perhaps, how many emails would be read; but we are able to use email, and we can also resort to calling our politicians.

We can contact our representatives and perhaps we should do so more often. About concerns that matter, of course, in a tone that is respectful, very well.

It may not lead to the greatest reaction, as in my case; but again, when we are concerned about something political, let’s reach out.

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on September 30, 2021.

I’m Jens (long: Jens Oliver Meiert), and I’m a frontend engineering leader and tech author/publisher. I’ve worked as a technical lead for companies like Google and as an engineering manager for companies like Miro, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly and Frontend Dogma.

I love trying things, not only in web development (and engineering management), but also in other areas like philosophy. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.

If you want to do me a favor, interpret charitably (I speak three languages, and they can collide), yet be critical and give feedback for me to learn and improve. Thank you!

Comments (Closed)

  1. On October 6, 2017, 2:21 CEST, Anonymous said:

    MPs are there to represent you; not to consult you nor to keep an open communication channel with you personally. That between all MPs of the EP no one replied back to your email is for once a sign that after all the EU is an healthy institution. There is hope.