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Decision on the use of languages by the European Medicines Agency on its website (case 1096/2021/PL)

Trečiadienis | 22 birželio 2022

The complainant was concerned that most of the information on the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) website is available in the English language only.

In the context of the inquiry, the Ombudsman reminded EMA of her recommendations on the use of official EU languages for the EU administration when communicating with the public.

EMA informed the Ombudsman that it is working on a language policy and a multilingual interface for its website.

The Ombudsman welcomed EMA’s plans to address the matter and closed the inquiry suggesting it follows up on its commitment in good time. The Ombudsman also suggested that, in the meantime, EMA seeks to make core information in all official EU languages more prominent on its website.

Decision in case 773/2018/PL on how the European Union Aviation Safety Agency conducted a consultation on drones

Penktadienis | 29 lapkričio 2019

The case concerned the way in which the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) carried out a public consultation. The Ombudsman’s inquiry covered (i) the fact that the consultation was in English only, (ii) EASA’s web-based application to submit comments and (iii) the amount of time stakeholders had to submit comments.

The Ombudsman concluded that citizens who do not speak English were hindered from contributing meaningfully to the consultation. She therefore made a suggestion to EASA to review its practice.

At the same time, the Ombudsman found EASA’s system for submitting comments to be reasonably user-friendly and the amount of time stakeholders had to submit comments to be sufficient. The Ombudsman thus closed the case.

Decision in case 2204/2018/TE on how the European Commission dealt with comments submitted under the notification procedure set up by the EU Single Market Transparency Directive

Ketvirtadienis | 19 rugsėjo 2019

The European Commission runs a publicly accessible database, which informs interested parties about national technical regulations communicated to the Commission by EU Member States before their adoption. The database also allows interested parties to submit comments on the proposed national technical regulations.

The complainant is an international technical association for generation and storage of power and heat. It submitted comments on proposed technical rules that Germany intended to introduce.

As the German authorities had requested the Commission to keep information about the measures confidential, only limited information about these measures was accessible via the public database. The complainant took issue with this. The complainant was also concerned about how the Commission dealt with its comments, as it did not receive a substantive reply from the Commission after it made its comments.

The Ombudsman found no maladministration in how the Commission dealt with the complainant’s comments made under the notification procedure. The Ombudsman suggested, however, that the Commission provide clear information in its acknowledgements of receipt and on the database website, as to what interested parties can expect in terms of the Commission’s reply to their comments. Regarding the information that is made available, the Ombudsman expects the Commission carefully to monitor Member States’ use of confidential notifications under the Single Market Transparency Directive and to take the necessary measures in case of suspected abuse of the confidentiality provision.

Decision in case 649/2019/TE on the Council’s failure to make available a German translation of a press release

Antradienis | 16 liepos 2019

The complaint concerned the fact that a press release containing remarks made by European Council President Donald Tusk on 6 February 2019 was made available in English, French and Irish only. The remarks were made following a meeting with the Irish Prime Minister.

The complainant had asked the Council to make available a German version of the press release. The Council replied that the press release would eventually be translated into all EU official languages.

The Ombudsman understands that it is the Council’s current practice to make remarks by the European Council President available in all EU official languages only in certain circumstances, for example when speaking after meetings of the European Council. Remarks made by the President following meetings with individual heads of state or government are generally made available either in English only, or in English and French, or in English, French and one additional official language. Thus, contrary to what the complainant was initially told by the Council, the press release in question was not translated into all official languages.

The Ombudsman acknowledges the need to strike an appropriate balance between linguistic diversity and administrative and budgetary constraints when translating documents. She also acknowledges that the EU institutions have some discretion in striking this balance. She considers that it was not manifestly wrong of the Council to make available the press release in question in English, French and Irish. At the same time, she considers that the Council should be transparent and clear about its translation policy and inform citizens accordingly. In this case, it provided misleading information to the complainant. This was regrettable.

Sprendimas byloje 766/2018/PL ir 1082/2018/PL dėl to, kaip Europos cheminių medžiagų agentūra konsultavosi dėl pasiūlymo apriboti švino naudojimą šaudymo reikmėms,

Antradienis | 16 liepos 2019

Byla susijusi su tuo, kaip Europos cheminių medžiagų agentūra (ECHA) konsultavosi su suinteresuotosiomis šalimis dėl pasiūlymo apriboti švino naudojimą šaudymo reikmėms šlapynėse. Skundo pateikėjas skundėsi dėl klausimų formuluotės ir dėl to, kad konsultuotis buvo galima tik anglų kalba.

Ombudsmenė mano, kad klausimai ir galimybė siųsti bendras pastabas leido dalyviams laisvai reikšti savo nuomonę. Tačiau dėl kalbų ombudsmenė padarė išvadą, kad ECHA pateikti motyvai vartoti tik anglų kalbą, yra nepakankami.

Todėl ombudsmenė palankiai vertina ECHA įsipareigojimą ateityje svarstyti, ar versti bent dalį savo konsultacijų į kitas kalbas. Tais atvejais, kai ECHA nuspręs riboti konsultacijų kalbas, ji turėtų įdiegti atitinkamas apsaugos priemones, pvz., pateikti santrauką visomis oficialiosiomis ES kalbomis, atitinkamą pagalbinę medžiagą pateikti kuo daugiau kalbų ir, svarbiausia, aiškiai nurodyti, jog atsakymus galima teikti bet kuria oficialiąja ES kalba. Pastarasis elementas yra pagrindinė teisė.

Ombudsmenė baigė bylą pasiūlydama ECHA ateityje vengti panašių problemų.