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Showing 1 - 20 of 162 results

Decision in case 2076/2018/LM on the European Commission’s refusal to grant public access to documents concerning an ‘EU Pilot’ procedure on Italy’s compliance with EU health and safety law in the workplace

Tuesday | 23 July 2019

The case concerned a request for public access to documents of the European Commission concerning an ‘EU Pilot procedure’ on Italy’s compliance with the directive on health and safety in the workplace. The Commission refused access, even though the procedure was no longer ongoing, because it was analysing infringement complaints and petitions that could lead it to reopen dialogue with the Italian government on the same issue.

The Ombudsman found that the Commission was justified in not disclosing the documents, as doing so could affect its investigation of the new complaints on the same matter. She thus closed the inquiry with a finding of no maladministration.

Decision in case 766/2018/PL on how the European Chemicals Agency conducted a consultation on a proposal to restrict lead in gunshot

Tuesday | 16 July 2019

The case concerns how the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) conducted a consultation of stakeholders on a proposal to restrict lead in gunshot used in wetlands. The complainant took issue with the wording of the questions and the fact that the consultation was available in English only.

The Ombudsman considers that the questions, and the opportunity to send general comments, allowed participants to express their views freely. Regarding languages, however, the Ombudsman found ECHA’s justification for using English only to be inadequate.

The Ombudsman therefore welcomes ECHA’s commitment for the future to consider translating into other languages at least parts of its consultations. Where ECHA restricts the use of languages, it should put in place relevant safeguards such as making available a summary in all EU official languages, making relevant supporting material available in as many languages as possible and, above all, making clear that responses can be submitted in any EU official language. This latter element is a fundamental right.

The Ombudsman closed the case with a suggestion to ECHA to avoid similar problems arising in the future.

Decision in case 1082/2018/PL on how the European Chemicals Agency conducted a consultation on a proposal to restrict lead in gunshot

Tuesday | 16 July 2019

The case concerns how the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) conducted a consultation of stakeholders on a proposal to restrict lead in gunshot used in wetlands. The complainant took issue with the wording of the questions and the fact that the consultation was available in English only.

The Ombudsman considers that the questions, and the opportunity to send general comments, allowed participants to express their views freely. Regarding languages, however, the Ombudsman found ECHA’s justification for using English only to be inadequate.

The Ombudsman therefore welcomes ECHA’s commitment for the future to consider translating into other languages at least parts of its consultations. Where ECHA restricts the use of languages, it should put in place relevant safeguards such as making available a summary in all EU official languages, making relevant supporting material available in as many languages as possible and, above all, making clear that responses can be submitted in any EU official language. This latter element is a fundamental right.

The Ombudsman closed the case with a suggestion to ECHA to avoid similar problems arising in the future.

Decision in case 2170/2017/JF on the European Commission’s allegedly wrong interpretation of the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications

Tuesday | 02 July 2019

The case concerned a letter the European Commission sent to the Italian authorities setting out its interpretation of the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications. The complainant claimed that the interpretation was wrong and in breach of the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

As it is only the Court of Justice which can provide an authoritative interpretation of EU law, the Ombudsman limited the inquiry to examining whether the Commission adequately explained its interpretation to the complainant. She finds that, overall, the Commission has addressed the arguments raised by the complainant and provided reasonable replies.

The Ombudsman therefore concludes that no further inquiries into the complaint are justified and closes the case.

Decision in case 1429/2016/SRS on how the European Commission handled a request for public access to documents concerning the free movement of persons in the context of Brexit

Friday | 14 June 2019

This case concerned a request for access to documents concerning the ‘free movement of persons’ under the now obsolete ‘New Settlement’ agreed by the United Kingdom and the European Union in 2016, prior to the UK’s decision to leave the EU. In denying access to the documents in question, the European Commission made use of exceptions provided for in the EU’s rules on public access to documents. It mainly argued that disclosing the documents would undermine its decision-making processes concerning the EU’s negotiations with the UK on its withdrawal from the EU.

The complainant was dissatisfied with the reasons put forward by the Commission and with the time taken by the Commission to reply to his requests. He thus turned to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman considered that in view of the preliminary nature of the discussions detailed in the documents, the status of the Brexit negotiations at that time and the political sensitivity for the parties involved, no further inquiries were justified given the lapse of time and events in the Brexit process. She therefore closed the inquiry.

Decision in case 1086/2018/LM concerning the European Commission’s delays in dealing with complaints against Italy for infringing the Working Time Directive

Thursday | 13 June 2019

The case concerned the way in which the European Commission dealt with two complaints alleging that working time arrangements in the healthcare sector in Italy infringe the EU Working Time Directive.

The Ombudsman found that the complainant’s main concerns resulted from him having received insufficient information and that this issue was settled in the course of the inquiry. The Ombudsman made a suggestion for improvement to avoid similar problems in the future and closed the case.

Decision in case 1087/2018/LM on the time taken by the European Commission to assess complaints about the use of fixed term contracts in Italy being contrary to EU law

Tuesday | 30 April 2019

The complaint was about the European Commission taking too long to assess whether the use of fixed-term contracts in the public sector in Italy is contrary to EU law.

The Ombudsman notes that the matter before the Commission is complex and challenging, with a range of relevant court cases, successive changes to the law in Italy, multiple complaints and a resolution from the European Parliament resulting from petitions. The Commission had provided a reasonable explanation as to why it needs to await the delivery of another court judgment before deciding whether to launch an infringement procedure. No further inquiries by the Ombudsman are therefore justified at this stage. However, the Ombudsman asks the Commission to inform her, within two months of the delivery of the judgment, of the action it will take in this case.

Decision in case 34/2019/MOM on the way in which the European Commission is dealing with an infringement complaint against Latvia concerning a law restricting the acquisition of agricultural land to proficient speakers of Latvian only

Friday | 26 April 2019

The case concerned the European Commission’s infringement procedure against Latvia about a law restricting the acquisition of agricultural law to individuals proficient in Latvian. The complainant claimed that the Commission had not taken sufficient action with regard to the infringement case.

The Ombudsman inquired into the issue and the Commission clarified how it was handling the case.

Based on the Commission’s clarifications, the Ombudsman found that it was acting in line with its powers. The Ombudsman therefore closed the complaint with no finding of maladministration.