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Closing note on the Strategic Initiative with the European Commission to improve the Transparency Register (SI/7/2016/KR)

Torsdag | 27 juni 2019

The Transparency Register was set up by the European Commission and Parliament in 2011 to allow the public to monitor the activities of interest representatives (or “lobbyists”) who seek to influence the formulation and implementation of EU legislation and policy. Overall, the Register has been successful and while there are gaps, it is improving over time.

In 2016, the Commission organised a public consultation on several proposed reforms aimed at improving the Transparency Register.

In this context, the Ombudsman opened a ‘strategic initiative’, to contribute to this important debate and to monitor developments by writing to the Commission on the issue.

In January 2018, inter-institutional negotiations began between the Parliament, the Council of the EU and the Commission on the Commission’s proposal to revise and improve the Transparency Register. These negotiations have not yet led to a successful outcome.

The Ombudsman encourages the incoming Parliament, the Council and the incoming Commission to renew their efforts to improve the Transparency Register given the importance of this matter for public trust in the EU.

Afgørelse fra Den Europæiske Ombudsmand i hendes strategiske undersøgelse OI/4/2016/EA af, hvordan Europa-Kommissionen behandler personer med handicap under den fælles sygesikringsordning for EU-ansatte

Torsdag | 04 april 2019

En FN-komité konstaterede i 2015, at sygesikringsordningen for EU-ansatte, den fælles sygesikringsordning (JSIS), ikke overholder FN’s konvention om rettigheder for personer med handicap (UNCRPD). Komitéen anbefalede, at JSIS skulle revideres, så den tilbyder omfattende dækning af handicaprelaterede sundhedsbehov.

Ombudsmanden gennemførte en strategisk undersøgelse efter at have modtaget klager fra ansatte, som havde haft problemer med at få deres egne eller deres familiemedlemmers lægeudgifter tilbagebetalt fuldt ud. Hun konstaterede, at Europa-Kommissionens mangel på effektive foranstaltninger som respons på komitéens anbefaling udgjorde dårlig forvaltning. Hun anbefalede derfor, at Kommissionen skulle revidere reglerne for JSIS. Hun gav også flere forslag til Kommissionen om, hvordan JSIS dækker personer med handicaps behov samt nødvendigheden af at uddanne personale og behørigt høre interessenter for at sikre, at JSIS afspejler personer med handicaps behov.

Kommissionen afgav svar om, at den vil revidere reglerne for JSIS og træffe foranstaltninger, som følger op på de fleste af Ombudsmandens forslag.

Da Kommissionen har accepteret hendes anbefaling, afslutter Ombudsmanden hendes strategiske undersøgelse. Da dette er en vigtig sag, beder hun Kommissionen om at rapportere tilbage om anbefalingens implementering inden for seks måneder. Ombudsmanden bekræfter også hendes forslag om, at det er nødvendigt for Kommissionen at revidere dens regler fra 2004 om at imødekomme personale med handicaps behov.

Afgørelse i sag 747/2016/PL om Den Europæiske Fødevaresikkerhedsautoritets brug af tærskelværdien for, hvornår et stof anses for toksikologisk problematisk

Mandag | 17 december 2018

Sagen vedrørte spørgsmålet om, hvordan Den Europæiske Fødevaresikkerhedsautoritet (EFSA) bruger tærskelværdien for, hvornår et stof anses for toksikologisk problematisk (TTC). TTC er et risikovurderingsværktøj, der er baseret på princippet om, at der er eksponeringsniveauer, under hvilke kemikalier ikke udgør en væsentlig risiko for menneskers sundhed.

I 2014 var EFSA og Verdenssundhedsorganisationen (WHO) værter for en ekspertworkshop med henblik på at gennemgå den videnskabelige viden, der ligger til grund for TTC-konceptet. Konklusionerne fra workshoppen blev omfattet af en offentlig høring og blev offentliggjort i marts 2016.

Klageren, en NGO, satte spørgsmålstegn ved EFSA’s brug af TTC-konceptet, da man var af den opfattelse, at det ikke afspejler den nuværende videnskabelige dokumentation. Klageren anførte endvidere, at mange af de eksperter, der deltog i workshoppen, havde interessekonflikter.

Den Europæiske Ombudsmands kontor er ikke et videnskabeligt organ og kan ikke tage stilling til indholdet af et bestemt risikovurderingsværktøj, såsom TTC. På grundlag af den gennemgang, der er foretaget i denne sag, fandt Ombudsmanden, at EFSA's redegørelse for brugen af TTC var rimelig.

Med hensyn til de eksperter, der deltog i workshoppen, fandt Ombudsmanden, at EFSA i dette tilfælde ikke var forpligtet til at screene dem for interessekonflikter, da det var rimeligt, at EFSA henholdt sig til WHO's forudgående screening af disse eksperter.

Ombudsmanden konkluderede, at der ikke forelå tilfælde af fejl eller forsømmelser fra EFSA's side.

Ombudsmanden foreslog imidlertid, at EFSA sørgede for, at eksperter, der deltager i konferencer eller møder, ikke har interessekonflikter, når konferencen eller mødet — som den omhandlede workshop — afholdes med henblik på at give input til EFSA's beslutningsproces, eller kunne opfattes således.

Decision in case 212/2016/JN on the European Commission’s annual reviewing of Member States’ export credit agencies

Mandag | 03 december 2018

The case concerned the adequacy of the European Commission’s annual reviewing of export credit agencies — national bodies that give financial support to companies doing business in risky markets — in particular with respect to the protection of human rights and the environment.

The Ombudsman inquired into the matter and found that the Commission’s methodology and procedures could be improved. In particular, the Ombudsman recommended that the Commission should engage in a dialogue with Member States and other stakeholders with a view to improving the template used by Member States to compile the reports on export credit agencies which they are required to submit to the Commission each year. The Ombudsman also recommended that the Commission, for its part, should enhance the analysis and evaluation content of the annual reviews of export credit agencies which it submits to the European Parliament.

The Commission informed the Ombudsman that it would consult the Council, Parliament and the European External Action Service, and engage with civil society, in order to implement the Ombudsman’s recommendations. In particular, the Commission will propose to the Council Working Group on Export Credits a revised checklist template to be used by Member States for their annual reports. The Commission will also consider drawing up relevant guidance for Member States’ reporting.

As the measures announced by the Commission adequately address the Ombudsman’s recommendations, the Ombudsman closed her inquiry but asked the Commission to report back within one year.

Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in case 212/2016/JN on the European Commission’s annual reviewing of Member States’ export credit agencies

Onsdag | 23 maj 2018

The case concerned the adequacy of the European Commission’s annual reviewing of export credit agencies - national bodies that give financial support to companies doing business in ‘risky’ markets - in particular with respect to the protection of human rights and the environment.

The Ombudsman inquired into the matter and found that the Commission’s methodology and procedures could be improved. In particular, she suggested that the Commission should engage in a dialogue with Member States and other stakeholders with a view to improving the template used by Member States in compiling the reports on export credit agencies which they are required to submit to the Commission each year. The Ombudsman also proposed that the Commission, for its part, should enhance the analysis and evaluation content of the annual reviews of export credit agencies which it submits to the European Parliament.

The Commission rejected the Ombudsman’s proposals mainly because it considers that their implementation would require an amendment to the existing legislation. The Ombudsman disagreed with the Commission’s position and has now made recommendations to the Commission in the same terms as those of her earlier proposals.  The Ombudsman believes that the Commission’s annual review, which it sends to Parliament, should amount to more than a compilation of the content of the annual reports received from the Member States and that it should contain an informed and detailed evaluation of the performance of the export credit agencies, particularly, as regards respect for human rights and the environment.