By: DAISY SAMPSON
JAMILA MADEIRA was elected as an MEP in 2004, representing Portugal as a member of the European Parliament.
Originally from the Algarve, Jamila has offices in Faro and lives in the region when she is not on parliamentary business. Although Portuguese MEPs, unlike MEPs in the UK, do not have specific constituencies, Jamila has a special interest in the Algarve and deals with people who have problems in the region.
The Resident spoke with Jamila Madeira at her office in Faro and asked her what she was doing for the citizens of the Algarve and why she thought MEPs had such a bad reputation following the results of The Resident’s online poll that revealed only four per cent of people believed their MEPs were fulfilling their duties.
“I am not surprised by these results,” said the MEP. “To many people, Europe is very far away and they don’t see quick results.” She said it was very frustrating being an MEP: “We have no power of initiative and only the power of proposal. National parliaments are able to act more quickly and pass legislation for faster results; this is why people think we are doing nothing.”
It is not all bad being an MEP though. “When something gets done in Europe, it is always a very big thing and will affect a lot of people; in that respect we have a lot of influence.”
Citizens of Europe may feel removed from the European Parliament but Jamila Madeira stressed the importance of public participation: “Support of the citizen is crucial in approving declarations and once they have been approved they can lead to legislation but they will always need people to show their support for causes.”
Although the processes in the European Parliament are slow, a declaration proposed by Jamila Madeira was adopted in May. This is a declaration that calls for the Commission and the Council to recognise the importance of microcredit, especially in relation to women and those living in Mediterranean countries of Europe and has now become an official position of the European Parliament.
Jamila Madeira said: “It was very hard work to get enough signatures for the declaration and it has taken a long time to get the declaration to this stage.” This does show that the system works if you give it time, so be patient when it comes to matters European.
Jamila Madeira is keen for all citizens of the Algarve to contact her if they feel they have European issues that need to be addressed. “My door is always open”, she said. “If I am not here, my assistant David Barreto will deal with the initial enquiry and then contact me as is needed.”
“The best way for people to learn about what we do in Europe is to visit the website www.europarl.europa.eu. There you can find what is being done daily and information on all the MEPs.”
If you would like to speak to Jamila Madeira about any issues affecting you as a European citizen or would like any information about activities in the European Parliament, then you can call her office in Faro on 289 808 590 or email [email protected] Alternatively you can visit her office at 34 Rua Veríssimo Almeida, Faro. Those wishing to contact Jamila can do so in Portuguese, English, French or Spanish.
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