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Verbatim report of proceedings
Thursday, 16 November 2006 - Strasbourg OJ edition

Ombudsman's 2005 annual report (debate)
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  Richard Seeber (PPE-DE).(DE) Mr President, Madam Vice-President of the Commission, Mr Diamandouros, Mr Schwab, I would particularly like to thank the latter two of you for the splendid work that has been done, and to express the hope that Mr Schwab can continue to have as firm a bite – not least where politics are concerned – as the well-known breed of dogs from his home town of Rottweil. In any case, I wish him every success in that.

You, too, Mr Diamandouros, have an important part to play, particularly since you are, in my view, the relay that connects the public to the European institutions; it is to you that citizens turn with any concerns they may have with them, and your role is to settle grievances and you do try to find solutions. Last year saw 3 920 submissions made, and in 75% of cases, it proved possible to offer the complainants a solution by setting investigations in motion or referring them onward to the relevant departments; that really is a very high percentage.

The Commission, too, has a very important part to play in this, in that it keeps on trying, by means of various transparency initiatives, to demonstrate how open it is, and I can do no other than encourage it in that, and you, Madam Vice-President, in carrying on down this road. The fact is that, as we know, great institutions – not only the Commission, but also those in the business world – have a tendency to become self-sufficient and to acquire a life of their own into which it is difficult for outsiders to get an insight, so press on with your transparency initiative, I beg you.

What I would like to say to our Polish friend is that I think it extremely hypocritical to accuse the Commission of providing only such information on the constitutional treaty as shows it in a favourable light. The publications I have seen were all kept relatively objective and were a necessary means of informing the public as to what this is all about.

(Applause)

It really is hypocritical to demand, on the one hand, more information, and, on the other, to ask that some of it be curtailed. That is why we must press on together down this road in order to be able to build a Europe in which we can all share.

(Applause)

 
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