Last February, The Good Lobby co-hosted alongside the European Parliament an event aimed at helping civil society representatives better understand how they can effectively engage with the EU institutions and advocate for their positions. 

The first panel gathered four experienced professionals with a proven track record in successful civil society advocacy to share their tips on how to make use of four valuable tools: European Citizen Initiatives, Petitions, Accessing information and Open Letters. 

No time to rewatch the discussion? No problem, we got you covered. 

Check out below the checklists we have created based on the insights shared by the experts!

Scroll to see all the cards.

Open Letters

Nicholas Aiossa, Director at Transparency International, has been involved in a great deal of advocacy campaigns throughout the years. During his presentation, he spoke about the power of open letters, and how these can be crafted in a way to maximise impact, among NGOs and sometimes other stakeholders such as businesses. 

One of the most successful recent examples of joint letters was the collective action calling out the Commission for not conducting an impact assessment ahead of the publication of the Defence of Democracy Package. The letter proved successful and forced the Commission to rectify. 

Whereas open letters can often miss their target and remain ignored, when properly drafted, they can be a powerful tool to complement direct lobbying efforts. Below are the things you should keep in mind.


Luis Morago, Campaign Director at Avaaz, shares valuable insights into the efficacy of online petitions and the journey beyond the click. 

Avaaz is a global web movement that aims to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere. Amongst Avaaz’s various success stories is their action to prevent Monsanto from building a GMO plant in Córdaba, Argentina. Avaaz’s petition collected over 1 million signatures and generated the necessary momentum to stop the construction of the mega-plant. 

During his presentation, Luis shared what it takes to craft a successful petition.

European Citizens Initiatives (ECIs)

Stéphanie Ghislain, Political Affairs Manager at Eurogroup for Animals (EFA) shared insights about her recent experience with European Citizen Initiatives (ECIs). 

EFA has been the leading organisation in running ECI campaigns, managing to collect over 1.000.000 signatures across the EU for three main initiatives – “End the Cage”,“Save Cruelty Free Cosmetics”, and “Fur Free Europe” – in less than 4 years (!). The “Fur Free Europe” campaign, in particular, collected 1 million signatures in only 6 months, making it one of the most successful ECIs ever. 

Access to Information

Anne Friel is the Head of Just Societies at ClientEarth. During her presentation, she emphasises the importance of access to information and employing diverse strategies to drive impactful change in policy-making. 

Information is the building block of effective advocacy. Yet procedures to request information from the public sector can be opaque and time-consuming.  Over the years, ClientEarth has been instrumental in ensuring that the EU respects the right of access to information of European citizens. For instance, in 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled in their favour ordering the European Commission to make public important documents used as a basis for its decision-making process. Most recently, ClientEarth won a court case that will prevent the Council from refusing to disclose legal opinions during trilogue negotiations. 

Anne outlined how to best approach requests for information from the EU institutions.

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