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Special reports

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Special Report of the European Ombudsman in strategic inquiry OI/2/2017/TE on the transparency of the Council legislative process

Wednesday | 16 May 2018

Following her inquiry into the transparency of legislative discussions in the preparatory bodies of the Council of the EU (the ‘Council’), the Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, is sending this special report to the European Parliament to seek its support on the matter.

In order for European citizens properly to exercise their democratic right to participate in the EU’s decision-making process, and hold those involved to account, legislative deliberations must be sufficiently transparent.

In order also for citizens to be able to hold their governments to account for the decisions they make on EU laws, they need to know how their governments positioned themselves during the legislative process. Making such information public would also oblige Member State governments to assume greater responsibility for this legislation and discourage them from ‘blaming Brussels’ for EU laws they themselves helped to shape and adopt.

The Ombudsman opened this strategic inquiry in March 2017. She put specific questions to the Council, launched a public consultation, and inspected legislative files of the Council.

The Ombudsman found that the Council’s current practices constitute maladministration. In particular, she criticised the Council’s failure to record systematically the identity of Member States taking positions in preparatory bodies, and the widespread practice of restricting access to legislative documents while the decision-making process is ongoing (the so-called ‘LIMITE’ marking).

On 9 February 2018, the Ombudsman made three specific recommendations and several suggestions to the Council on how to improve the transparency of its legislative process.

The Council did not reply to her recommendations and suggestions within the legally-prescribed timeline of three months.

Given the importance of the issue of legislative transparency, the Ombudsman considers it appropriate to bring the matter to the attention of the European Parliament, so as to seek its support in prevailing upon the Council to act on her recommendations and suggestions.

Special Report of the European Ombudsman in own-initiative inquiry OI/5/2012/BEH-MHZ concerning Frontex

Thursday | 07 November 2013

Summary Frontex[1] has rejected a recommendation made by the European Ombudsman following an investigation of its compliance with human rights standards and, in particular, with the requirements of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, is sending this special report to the European Parliament seeking its support on the matter. Dealing with immigration, and in parti...

Special Report of the European Ombudsman concerning his inquiry into complaint 2591/2010/GG against the European Commission

Monday | 14 May 2012

Made in accordance with Article 3(6) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1] Summary 1. The present case concerns the way in which the European Commission handled a complaint submitted to it in 2006 by 27 citizens' initiatives fighting against what they perceived to be the negative consequences of the expansion of Vienna airport ("the complainants"). The Commission reached the conclusion that ...

Special report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament concerning lack of cooperation by the European Commission in complaint 676/2008/RT

Friday | 28 March 2008

(Made in accordance with the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]) INTRODUCTION 1. The Ombudsman considers that the present case raises an important issue of principle. He takes the view that the Commission has failed to cooperate sincerely with the Ombudsman during his inquiry into this complaint. The Ombudsman, therefore, seeks Parliament's assistance to ensure that the Commission will respect t...

Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the European Commission in complaint 3453/2005/GG

Tuesday | 15 November 2005

(Made in accordance with Article 3(7) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]) Introduction The Ombudsman considers that the present case raises an important issue of principle concerning the way the European Commission handles complaints submitted by citizens, in which an infringement of Community law by Member States is alleged. The question is whether the Commission, instead of opening infr...

Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the Council of the European Union in complaint 1487/2005/GG

Wednesday | 04 May 2005

(Made in accordance with Article 3(7) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]) Introduction The Ombudsman considers that the present case concerns two important issues of principle, namely, (1) the question as to the languages that should be used for the internet presentations of the Presidency of the EU and (2) the question whether the Council can be held responsible for the websites maintain...

Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the European Commission in complaint 289/2005/(WP)GG

Tuesday | 22 February 2005

(Made in accordance with Article 3(7) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]) Introduction The Ombudsman considers that the present case raises an important issue of principle, namely the question as to whether the Commission is entitled indefinitely to delay its handling of complaints alleging an infringement of Community law by a Member State on the grounds that it is unable to reach a poli...

Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following his Draft Recommendation to the European Commission in Complaint 185/2005/ELB

Wednesday | 16 February 2005

(Made in accordance with Article 3(7) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]) Introduction 1. The Ombudsman considers that the present case raises an important issue of principle. He takes the view that the Commission infringes the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of age, by imposing an absolute ban on hiring freelance auxiliary conference interpreters over 65 years of age. This c...

Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the European Anti-Fraud Office in complaint 2485/2004/GG

Monday | 06 September 2004

(Made in accordance with Article 3 (7) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]) Introduction The Ombudsman considers that the present case raises an important issue of principle, affecting the trust of citizens in the EU institutions and bodies. Citizens should be able to have confidence in the accuracy and completeness of the Ombudsman's inquiries. If an institution or body has provided inacc...

Special Report from the European Ombudsman to the European Parliament following the draft recommendation to the Council of the European Union in complaint 2395/2003/GG

Thursday | 18 December 2003

(Made in accordance with Article 3 (7) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman[1]) Summary The present special report concerns the question as to whether the Council should meet publicly whenever it acts in a legislative capacity. The Ombudsman's inquiry into this matter results from a complaint made in December 2003. At present, the extent to which the Council's meetings in its legislative capac...