DearMEP is a tool to empower citizens to reach out – easy, directly and free of charge – to their elected representatives in the European Parliament. Our goal is to make the voices of average people heard in the political process!
Many important decisions are taken in Europe. Yet, Brussels and Strasbourg often seem further away than national politics. DearMEP is a tool that brings EU politicians much closer to home and to the people they should be accountable to. NGOs can use this free software tool to empower their constituency to counter the power of paid lobbyists. Users don’t need to learn how the EU works, which politician to call under which number. They only need to care about the issue and spend time – not money – to make a difference.
Citizens can call once or schedule daily or weekly calls. E-mail or social media communication is also an option to reach out directly to politicians. When a campaign uses DearMEP, it provides information about every politician and their respective position on the issue. We suggest to base the politician’s position on previous voting behavior. For every user, our tool selects the corresponding politician from the country where the user lives and who has the highest likelihood to be convinced at this moment. In any debate, we always focus on the movable middle and do not connect citizens to politicians who have already made up their mind. The system also learns from user feedback how the position of politicians might have changed due to the interactions with citizens. This helps maximize the success and impact of subsequent contact attempts from citizens.
The DearMEP tool is reusable for other campaigns in the European Parliament. After Chat Control (Regulation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse online 2022/0155 (COD)) will have been concluded, this tool will be released as free software. NGOs can use it with minimum effort to run their own campaigns. We believe access to the Parliament and to decision makers should be equally available to all people in a democracy. The tools are therefore designed and built to also allow for reuse in other contexts (national parliaments, governments, other assemblies, etc.) with only slight adaptions. The cost of phone calls have to be covered by whoever operates the tool, but these costs are scalable, since they are proportionate to the amount of users actively engaging in the campaign. As this is free software, we do not charge for operating this tool. There is no license fee and we haven’t received any grant or corporate money for developing it either.
As a European data protection NGO we take privacy very seriously. We tried to reduce the processing of personal information to a minimum and therefore follow privacy-by-design and privacy-by-default wherever possible.