|AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL |
EU ASSOCIATIONRue du Commerce 70-72
Tel.: (32-2) 502.14.99
The EU Association of Amnesty International: " A unique structure within the movement "
The EU Association consists of the Brussels office with 4 staff and includes the involvement of EU sections. During its Annual General Meeting, the representatives of the 15 EU sections decide on long term orientations, finances, action strategy and organizational development of the Association. They also elect a board of directors which has the responsibility for the direct management of the Association.
The EU is increasingly developing policies in areas related to human rights - such as the harmonization of asylum policies or control on military, security and police transfers - to be later implemented in the Member States. The EU office, together with specialists from sections and the IS, develops AI's commentary and positions, and recommends steps to be taken by the EU institutions.
The EU office keeps EU sections informed about relevant events at EU level, writes action circulars to be implemented by EU sections, and expects them to provide regular feed-back on the results of their EU lobbying, in order to improve the coordination and cooperation between EU sections.
In many areas the European Parliament is much less associated to the legislative process than national parliaments. Nevertheless, in human rights matters it can be seen as a very strong moral voice and as the "best ally" of Amnesty International within the EU institutions. It can put pressure on EU governments by adopting resolutions or asking questions to the Council of Ministers or to the EU Commission. Euro-Parliamentarians can also influence the human rights policy in third countries while meeting with members of the government or parliament of these particular countries. Moreover, the European Parliament can play an important role in budgetary matters and has a veto power regarding the conclusion of certain agreements between the European Union and third countries. Amnesty EU sections actively cooperate with Members of the European Parliament. The lobbying of the European Parliament by EU sections has to be closely coordinated by the EU office, in order to avoid a lack of coherence.
The Staff of the EU office also conducts lobbying: it has regular contacts with the secretariat of the Council of Ministers, the European Parliament, the EU Commission, and sometimes representations of third countries or permanent missions of the Member States to the European Union. The EU Commission, which represents the "Community interest", is approached by the EU office at an early stage because of its important initiative role. The European office also works closely together with other Brussels based NGOs.
In the area of lobbying activities the EU Association is a very successful model of cooperation between AI sections. Through this unique structure within the movement, Amnesty International exerts a visible influence on the decision- making process in the European Union.