You have a complaint against an EU institution or body?

Search cases

Text search

Document type

Institution concerned

Type of settlement

Case number

Language

Date range

Keywords

Health and Food Safety

Or try old keywords (Before 2016)

Showing 1 - 20 of 281 results

Decision of the European Ombudsman in case 1069/2019/MIG on sponsorship of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Monday | 29 June 2020

This case concerned corporate sponsorship of the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The complainant considered that the Council should regulate or prohibit such sponsorship. The Council refused to address the matter, arguing that the sponsorship of the Presidency was the sole responsibility of the Member State government holding the Presidency.

The Ombudsman noted that, as the Presidency is part of the Council, its activities are likely to be perceived by the wider European public as being linked to the Council and the EU as a whole. As such, the use of sponsorship by the Presidency entails reputational risks which the Council should address. The Ombudsman therefore recommended that, to mitigate those risks, the Council should provide guidance to the Member States on the issue of sponsorship of the Presidency.

The Council accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendation, announcing its intention to consider issuing best practice guidance to the Member States. The Ombudsman welcomed the Council’s decision and closed the inquiry.

Decision in case 222/2020/EWM on how the European Medicines Agency dealt with the authorisation of the medicine Kalydeco for use by children with a specific form of cystic fibrosis

Wednesday | 03 June 2020

The case concerned how the European Medicines Agency (EMA) dealt with a request to authorise a medicine called Kalydeco. Kalydeco is used to treat cystic fibrosis, a serious illness caused by a number of different gene mutations.

The complainant, whose three-year old son has a specific form of cystic fibrosis, expressed concerns that EMA had incurred delays in approving the drug for use in children with this specific form of cystic fibrosis.

During the inquiry, on 20 April 2020, EMA informed the complainant and the Ombudsman that its scientific experts had, after examining all the scientific and medical evidence they needed, approved Kalydeco for use in children with the form of cystic fibrosis that affects the complainant’s child.

The Ombudsman found that no unjustified delays had occurred. EMA was also clear and transparent, and showed great care, in its contacts with the complainant.

The Ombudsman concluded that there was no maladministration by EMA and closed the inquiry.

Decision in case 1481/2019/MH on how the European Commission dealt with an infringement complaint against the Netherlands concerning the importation of potentially unsafe lighters

Friday | 06 March 2020

The case concerned the time taken by the European Commission to deal with a complaint from a manufacturer of lighters alleging that the Netherlands was infringing EU law. The complainant was particularly concerned that the Commission had not taken the next formal step in the procedure since July 2014, when it had asked the Netherlands for further information about the case.

The Ombudsman acknowledges that more than nine years to conduct an investigation into an infringement complaint is a very long time. However, based on the Commission’s extensive information gathering and its analysis, and the extent of its engagement with the Dutch authorities and the complainant, the Ombudsman has not found undue delay in the Commission’s handling of this case. Over the nine-year period, the Commission had approximately six rounds of information gathering with the Netherlands, while the complainant submitted reports and studies on more than 18 occasions. The complainant also met with the Commission at least 13 times.

As the Commission has now sent a letter to the complainant informing it of its intention to close the case, the Ombudsman considers that no further inquiries are justified.

Recommendation of the European Ombudsman in case 1069/2019/MIG on sponsorship of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Monday | 06 January 2020

Made in accordance with Article 3(6) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]

This case concerns the sponsorship of the Presidency of the Council of the EU. The complainant considered that the Council should regulate or prohibit sponsorship.

The Council argued that the sponsorship of the Presidency is the sole responsibility of the Member State government responsible for the Presidency, and that it could therefore not address the matter.

The Ombudsman notes that the Presidency is part of the Council, and must operate in a neutral and impartial manner. When the Presidency organises a meeting or another activity, whether in Brussels or in its home Member State, the wider European public is bound to perceive this activity as linked to the Council and the EU as a whole.

As such, the Council’s stance that it has no responsibility when it comes to sponsorship of the Council Presidency, which ignores the risk of reputational damage to the neutrality of the Presidency, constitutes maladministration. The Ombudsman therefore makes a recommendation that the Council issue guidance to Member States on the issue of sponsorship of the Presidency to mitigate the reputational risks to the EU.

 

[1] Decision of the European Parliament of 9 March 1994 on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman's duties (94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom): https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/GA/TXT/?uri=CELEX:31994D0262.  

Decision in case 2142/2018/EWM on the European Commission’s refusal to grant access to Member State positions on a guidance document concerning the risk assessment of pesticides on bees

Tuesday | 03 December 2019

The complainant, an environmental NGO, made a request for public access to documents containing the positions taken by Member States in a committee dealing with the risk assessment of how pesticides affect bees. The Commission refused access to the documents. It argued that its rules of procedure require that the positions of individual Member States not be disclosed and that public disclosure of Member States’ positions would prevent Member States from frankly expressing their views.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and found that the Commission was wrong to refuse access to the documents. She considered that the documents, should benefit from the wider public access granted to ‘legislative documents’. Moreover, she considered that wider public access was needed as the documents contain environmental information. She thus recommended that the Commission disclose the documents.

The Commission has chosen not to follow the Ombudsman’s recommendation. This is disappointing. Transparent decision-making regarding procedures which are of general interest and application is a cornerstone of democracy. This is all the more important when the decision-making relates to the protection of the environment.

The Ombudsman confirms that the Commission’s continued refusal to grant the complainant access to the requested documents constitutes maladministration.