Resources at EU level
Although you will usually be able to enforce your rights better in the country where you live, the European Union offers resources that may also be able to help you.
The Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament
You have the right (Article 227 TFEU) to submit a petition to the European Parliament about the application of Union law. You may submit your petition by post or online via the European Parliament's website. You can find out more about petitions to the European Parliament on the EU citizenship and free movement website.
The European Commission
You can contact the European Commission about any measure (law, regulation or administrative action), absence of measure or practice by a country of the European Union that you think is against Union law.
The European Commission can only take up your complaint if it is about a breach of Union law by authorities in an EU country. If your complaint is about the action of a private individual or body (unless you can show that national authorities are somehow involved), you have to try to solve it at national level (courts or other ways of settling disputes). The European Commission cannot follow up matters that only involve private individuals or bodies, and that do not involve public authorities.
If you are not an expert in Union law, you may find it difficult to find out exactly which Union law you think has been breached. You can get advice quickly and informally from the Your Europe Advice service, in your own language.
The European Ombudsman
Administrative steps to submit a complaint to the European Commission
You must submit your complaint via the standard complaint form, which will make it easier for us to understand your problem. You may fill out the form in any official EU language. Please make sure you include the following details:
- describe exactly how you believe that national authorities have infringed Union law, and which is the Union law that you believe they have infringed
- give details of any steps you have already taken to obtain redress
What does the European Commission do with your complaint?
Complaints to the European Commission go through the following process:
- The European Commission will confirm to you that it has received your complaint within 15 working days.
- The European Commission will invite you to resubmit your complaint in case you have not used the standard complaint form.
- Within the following 12 months, the European Commission will assess your complaint and aim to decide whether to initiate a formal infringement procedure against the country in question.
- If the issue that you raise is especially complicated, or if the European Commission needs to ask you or others for more information or details, it may take longer than 12 months to reach a decision. You will be informed if the assessment takes longer than 12 months.
- If the European Commission decides that your complaint is founded and initiates a formal infringement procedure against the country in question, it will inform you and let you know how the case progresses.
- Should the Commission contact the authorities of the country country against which you have made your complaint, it will not disclose your identity unless you have given your express permission to do so.
- If the European Commission thinks that your problem could be solved more effectively by any of the available informal or out-of-court problem-solving services, it may propose to you that your file be transferred to those services.
- If the Commission decides your problem does not involve a breach of Union law, it will inform you by letter before it closes your file.
- At any time, you may give the European Commission additional material about your complaint or ask to meet representatives of the European Commission.
Find out more about how the European Commission handles its relations with complainants: Communication on the handling of relations with the complainant in respect of the application of Union law.
Submitting a complaint online
You can complete and submit the online complaint form.
Submitting a complaint by email or by post
If you wish to submit a complaint by email or by post, you must fill in the standard complaint form which is available in all EU languages. Please follow the instructions contained in the form.
The form will help you structure your complaint and ensure it contains all the relevant information. To facilitate the processing of your complaint, please fill in the form on screen or by hand in a legible manner.
Complaints can be sent to the following address:
by fax: 3222964335
What the Commission can and cannot do?
After examining the facts of your complaint, the Commission will decide whether further action should be taken. The Commission may decide not to open a formal infringement procedures, even if it considers that a breach of EU law has occurred. Certain cases can be dealt with by other mechanisms at EU and national level, which are more appropriate. This applies in particular to individual cases of incorrect application not raising issues of wider principle, where there is insufficient evidence of a general practice, of a problem of compliance of national legislation with EU law or of a systematic failure to comply with EU law. In such cases, if effective legal protection is available, the Commission will, as a general rule, direct complainants to the national level (see Communication on the handling of relations with the complainant in respect of the application of Union law).
For instance, in 2017, the Commission closed infringement procedures and complaints in the area of gambling. The Commission did not consider it a priority to use its enforcement powers to promote an EU Single Market in the area of online gambling services. Complaints in the gambling sector can be handled more efficiently by national courts than by the Commission.
On the other hand, if the Commission takes a country to the Court of Justice and wins the case, the country will have to take all actions to remedy the violations.
If the Commission brings the case before the Court of Justice of the European Union, it may take several years for the Court of Justice to hand down its judgment. Judgments of the Court of Justice differ from those of national courts. The Court of Justice delivers a judgment stating whether there has been an infringement of European Union law. The Court of Justice cannot annul a national provision which is incompatible with European Union law, nor force a national administration to respond to the request of an individual, nor order the country to pay damages to an individual adversely affected by an infringement of European Union law. To seek compensation, complainants must still take their case to a national court within the time limit set out in national law.
Acknowledgements of receipt of multiple complaints
Similar complaints received by the Commission that have been registered together under the same number.