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Multilingualism in the EU institutions

Quarta-Feira | 24 junho 2020

Decision in case 1708/2019/NH on the EU Publications Office refusing to publish a notice for tender in the Official Journal of the European Union

Sexta-Feira | 08 maio 2020

The case concerned the refusal by the EU Publications Office to publish a contract notice in the Official Journal of the EU because it contained text in more than one language. The complainant, who works for a Belgian cultural foundation, contended that the Publications Office had failed to give the legal basis for its refusal.

In the course of the Ombudsman inquiry, the Publications Office gave the legal basis for refusing to publish the complainant’s notice. It also explained how it handles issues of this kind.

The Ombudsman closed the inquiry with the finding that the Publications Office had settled the aspect of the complaint that concerned the legal basis for the refusal to publish the contract notice. The Ombudsman further found that the Office’s explanations as to how it handles issues of this nature do not reveal any maladministration. The Ombudsman made a suggestion for improvement to ensure that language requirements are clearly explained on the Publication Office’s website.

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

Sexta-Feira | 29 novembro 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 649/2019/TE on the Council’s failure to make available a German translation of a press release

Terça-Feira | 16 julho 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.

Decisão no processo 758/2017/MDC relativo à política linguística alegadamente discriminatória da Frontex

Terça-Feira | 02 abril 2019

O processo dizia respeito ao pedido de um cidadão italiano de obtenção de uma versão em língua italiana de um documento da Agência Europeia da Guarda de Fronteiras e Costeira (Frontex).

O inquérito da Provedora de Justiça centrou-se na política linguística adotada pela Frontex nas suas comunicações externas. A Provedora de Justiça recomendou que a Frontex disponibilizasse informações gerais sobre a Agência no seu sítio Web em todas as línguas da UE. Recomendou igualmente que a Frontex publicasse a sua política linguística no seu sítio Web em todas as línguas oficiais da UE.

Uma vez que a Frontex aceitou as suas recomendações, a Provedora de Justiça encerrou o inquérito, sugerindo que a Frontex desenvolvesse, o mais rapidamente possível, uma política linguística mais abrangente para as suas comunicações externas.