You have a complaint against an EU institution or body?

Available languages:
  • English

Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 2650/2007/(LR)FOR against the European Commission

Strasbourg, 27 November 2007

Dear Mr G.,

I refer to your letters of 17 and 23 October 2007 concerning the text of the Schuman declaration on the Europa website. You pointed out that all language versions of the Europa website, other than the French version, omit the phrase contained in the Schuman Declaration concerning the importance of the development of the African continent. You underlined the importance of this phrase.

My services contacted the Commission's services about the matter on 6 November 2007. The Commission's services then wrote to the complainant on 8 November 2007 in order to explain that the incomplete versions of the Schuman Declaration were inherited from the Commission's first Internet site, which was now over 10 years old. The Commission did not provide further explanations as regards the problem, except to point out that it was an unfortunate occurrence. The Commission confirmed that steps would be taken to resolve the problem.

My services contacted you on 20 November 2007 in order to confirm whether you were satisfied with the response of the Commission. You first of all drew attention to the importance of the phrase referring to the development of the African continent contained in the Schuman Declaration. You stated that this phrase was very relevant in the public debate on Europe's role as regards the development of the African continent. You noted that the changes which the Commission had suggested it would make had not yet been made. You also pointed out that it would be necessary, in order to effectively resolve the problem, for the Commission to ensure that the error did not appear in any publications of the Commission, including electronic and hard copy publications. You hoped, therefore, that the Commission would ensure that future publications did not repeat this error.

With a view to avoiding any misunderstanding, I informed you that my inquiry only concerned the specific subject matter of his complaint, namely the fact that the version of the Schuman Declaration which was made available on the Europa Internet site was incomplete (in all languages other than in French).

In view of the measures which the Commission's services have agreed to take, I consider that the Commission has settled the complaint and I have therefore closed the case.

I informed you that my conclusion was based only on an analysis of the response provided to you by the Commission. I also informed you that if you were not satisfied with the steps taken by the Commission, you could submit a new complaint to the Ombudsman.

Please find attached a copy of the correspondence sent to you by the Commission.

A copy of the present decision will be sent to the Commission.

Yours sincerely,