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Niet-naleving van de taalrechten [Artikelen 13 en 14 van de ECGAB]

Of probeer oude trefwoorden (voor 2016)

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

Vrijdag | 29 november 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

Donderdag | 19 september 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.

Besluit in de zaken 766/2018/PL en 1082/2018/PL over de wijze waarop het Europees Agentschap voor chemische stoffen een raadpleging heeft gehouden over een voorstel tot beperking van lood in hagelpatronen

Dinsdag | 16 juli 2019

De zaak betrof de wijze waarop het Europees Agentschap voor chemische stoffen (ECHA) een raadpleging van belanghebbenden heeft uitgevoerd over een voorstel tot beperking van lood in hagelpatronen die worden gebruikt in wetlands. De klager maakte bezwaar tegen de formulering van de vragen en het feit dat de raadpleging alleen in het Engels beschikbaar was.

De Ombudsman is van mening dat de vragen, en de mogelijkheid om algemene opmerkingen te maken, de deelnemers de mogelijkheid hebben geboden hun standpunt vrijelijk kenbaar te maken. Wat betreft de talen was de Ombudsman echter van mening dat ECHA onvoldoende had gemotiveerd waarom uitsluitend Engels was gebruikt.

De Ombudsman is dan ook ingenomen met de toezegging van ECHA dat het in de toekomst zal overwegen om ten minste een deel van zijn raadplegingen te vertalen. Wanneer ECHA het gebruik van talen beperkt, moet het relevante waarborgen bieden, bijvoorbeeld door in alle officiële talen van de EU een samenvatting beschikbaar te stellen, door in zoveel mogelijk talen relevante ondersteunende informatie beschikbaar te stellen, en bovenal door duidelijk te maken dat antwoorden wel degelijk in alle officiële talen van de EU kunnen worden ingediend. Dit laatste element is een grondrecht.

De Ombudsman heeft de zaak gesloten met een voorstel aan ECHA om soortgelijke problemen in de toekomst te voorkomen.

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

Dinsdag | 16 juli 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.

Decision in case 1128/2018/TM on the European Commission’s webpages on ‘novel foods’ being available in English only

Donderdag | 27 juni 2019

The case concerned the European Commission’s webpages on ‘novel foods’, types of food that are produced by new methods or have not previously been consumed by humans on a wider scale. The Commission’s webpages include an online application system for businesses seeking authorisation to market a novel food in the EU. The complainant was concerned that these webpages were available in English only.

In the course of the Ombudsman’s inquiry, the Commission started translating information on the authorisation procedure for novel foods into more EU official languages. The webpages were also revised to include the information that applications may be submitted in any EU language. The Ombudsman found that the Commission had taken steps to solve the complaint and closed the inquiry as settled.