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Nieprzestrzeganie praw językowych [art. 13 i 14 Europejskiego kodeksu dobrej praktyki administracyjnej]

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

Piątek | 29 listopada 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

Czwartek | 19 września 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.

Decyzji w sprawie 766/2018/PL i 1082/2018/PL dotyczącej sposobu, w jaki Europejska Agencja Chemikaliów przeprowadziła konsultacje w sprawie wniosku mającego na celu ograniczenia ołowiu w kulach do broni palnej

Wtorek | 16 lipca 2019

Sprawa dotyczy sposobu, w jaki Europejska Agencja Chemikaliów (ECHA) przeprowadziła konsultacje z zainteresowanymi stronami w sprawie wniosku mającego na celu ograniczenie stosowania ołowiu w kulach do broni palnej na obszarach wodno-błotnych. Skarżący zakwestionował brzmienie pytań oraz fakt, że konsultacje były dostępne wyłącznie w języku angielskim.

Europejska Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich uważa, że pytania i możliwość przekazania uwag ogólnych pozwoliły uczestnikom na swobodne wyrażenie poglądów. Jeżeli chodzi o języki, Rzecznik uznała jednak, że uzasadnienie ECHA co do użycia tylko języka angielskiego jest niewystarczające.

Dlatego też Rzecznik z zadowoleniem przyjmuje zobowiązanie ECHA na przyszłość do rozważenia tłumaczenia na inne języki co najmniej części konsultacji. W przypadku gdy ECHA ogranicza stosowanie języków, powinna ona wprowadzić odpowiednie zabezpieczenia, takie jak udostępnienie streszczenia we wszystkich językach urzędowych UE, udostępniając w miarę możliwości odpowiednie materiały pomocnicze w jak największej liczbie języków, a przede wszystkim wyjaśnić, że odpowiedzi można składać w dowolnym języku urzędowym UE. Ten ostatni element stanowi prawo podstawowe.

Rzecznik zamknęła sprawę z propozycją dla ECHA, aby uniknąć podobnych problemów w przyszłości.

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

Wtorek | 16 lipca 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

Czwartek | 27 czerwca 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.