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Procedura : 2012/2049(INI)
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Ciclo del documento : A7-0297/2012

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A7-0297/2012

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PV 25/10/2012 - 23
CRE 25/10/2012 - 23

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PV 26/10/2012 - 6.6
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P7_TA(2012)0405

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Giovedì 25 ottobre 2012 - Strasburgo Edizione rivista

23. Relazione annuale di attività del Mediatore europeo 2011 (discussione)
Video degli interventi
Processo verbale
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  El Presidente. − El punto siguiente en el orden del día es el debate sobre el informe de Erminia Mazzoni, en nombre de la Comisión de Peticiones, sobre el Informe anual relativo a las actividades del Defensor del Pueblo Europeo en 2011 (2012/2049(INI)) (A7-0297/2012).

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni, relatrice. − Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, come ogni anno anche quest'anno ci ritroviamo a tirare le somme dell'attività del Mediatore europeo. Il bilancio, almeno questo, può essere definito sicuramente in attivo. Lo ricordo, il Mediatore europeo trae i suoi poteri dall'articolo 298 del trattato sul funzionamento dell'Unione europea e la sua funzione precipua nell'ambito della rete dei mediatori europei è quella di garantire il rispetto del diritto dei cittadini a una buona amministrazione e in particolare anche il rispetto dei diritti garantiti dall'articolo 41 della Carta fondamentale che stabiliscono che ogni persona debba avere un trattamento dalle istituzioni pubbliche e dalle pubbliche amministrazioni che sia chiaro, leale e che soprattutto abbia uno sviluppo in tempi rapidi.

Quest'anno, mi riferisco chiaramente all'anno 2011, il Mediatore europeo ha registrato un numero di denunce in calo rispetto al 2010. Passiamo da 2 667 a 2 510 denunce complessive. Il dato di novità nell'ambito di queste denunce è che oltre il 61%, poco più del 61% di queste denunce, è stato presentato utilizzando lo strumento di Internet. All'interno di questa quota del 61%, il 53% è stata realizzata dai cittadini utilizzando il formulario che viene offerto sul portale Web del Mediatore europeo – argomento molto caro a me che presiedo la commissione petizioni che da qualche tempo è impegnata a chiedere che si riconosca un servizio Internet e si garantisca l'installazione di un portale Web della commissione per le petizioni più adeguato alle istanze dei cittadini.

Sono sicuramente diminuite nel corso del 2011 le richieste di informazioni e di chiarimento, questo riteniamo tutti concordemente che sia stato il frutto della validissima guida che è stata realizzata dal Mediatore europeo e che riesce a ridurre il numero delle richieste di informazioni per chiarimento. Si sono ridotti anche gli errori nella presentazione delle istanze al Mediatore europeo, cioè si è ridotto il numero di quelle istanze non correttamente formulate al Mediatore perché non rientranti nella sua competenza, e questo sicuramente anche grazie ad altri due supporti che sono stati utilizzati e realizzati dall'ufficio del Mediatore europeo per aiutare e facilitare il compito dei cittadini. Non ultimo, anche un intervento sulle procedure che è stato fatto nell'arco del 2011 dal Mediatore europeo e che ha riguardato una loro semplificazione. Sicuramente questi interventi e queste buone prassi messe in campo dal Mediatore europeo hanno consentito di rendere più positivo il risultato del servizio che il Mediatore svolge.

Nel totale delle istanze presentate dai cittadini dobbiamo rilevare che il numero delle contestazioni nei confronti della Commissione europea rimane comunque alto, ed è la quota maggiore delle istanze complessivamente presentate, il 58%. Un'obiezione va mossa, sicuramente quella che la Commissione europea, avendo poteri esecutivi, è il bersaglio più immediatamente individuabile da parte dei cittadini, ma ciò non la giustifica in pieno e sicuramente il Commissario Šefčovič qualcosa ci aggiungerà al riguardo. Il Parlamento invece, ed è buona cosa notarlo, ha ridotto di quasi la metà il numero delle denunce nei suoi confronti, mentre aumentano quelle nei confronti del Consiglio. Le indagini svolte aperte dal Mediatore si sono concluse per la maggior parte: da 382 aperte 318 concluse, quindi credo che sia un'ottima performance.

Questa attività – e questa è l'annotazione con la quale chiudo – ha un unico neo: come l'attività svolta da tutti i soggetti istituzionali che partecipano alla rete civica a tutela dei diritti dei cittadini che non hanno dei poteri effettivi per cercare di realizzare concretamente le istanze dei cittadini, i procedimenti del Mediatore si possono concludere con una raccomandazione o in caso estremamente negativo con una nota critica, ma non possono portare al cittadino direttamente la risposta.

 
  
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  President. − I now give the floor to Mr Diamandouros. It is always a pleasure to see you here one more year on the occasion of the evaluation of the report on your activities. It is excellent news because it proves that after so many years you and I are in good health, so you have the floor.

 
  
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  Nikiforos Diamandouros, Ombudsman. − Mr President, in good health in the presence of the Commissioner for Health! I wish to thank you for this opportunity to address you on the subject of my annual report for the year 2011. I would like first of all to say that I am grateful to Parliament’s continued support for the work of the European Ombudsman. I wish also to express my sincere thanks to the Chair of the Committee on Petitions, Ms Mazzoni, for her thorough and insightful report on my activities, to which we just listened. As I have repeatedly stated, the support of Parliament and the collaboration of the Petitions Committee are essential contributors to the success of the European Ombudsman.

Let me now turn to the key statistics of the annual report. During 2011 I received a total of 2 510 complaints from citizens, companies, NGOs, associations and others. I try to help every complainant who turns to the Ombudsman, even in cases when the complaint is not within my mandate. We should not underestimate how important it is for citizens to be guided to the most appropriate complaint-handling mechanism and body from the outset and to be spared the frustrations and delays associated with having to identify the right institution on their own.

In January 2009 I launched an interactive guide on my website which is accessible in all 23 official languages. This guide aims to direct complainants to the body best placed to help them, be it my own services, the Petitions Committee of Parliament, the services of national original ombudsmen in the Member States, or existing problem-solving mechanisms established by the European Commission such as the ‘Your Europe’ portal or the Solvit network for cross-border problems.

The number of inadmissible complaints submitted to me continued to decline in 2011, this time by 111. In large part, I attribute this decline to the fact that, by using the interactive guide, more citizens are finding the right address to turn to the first time round. In 2011, more than 18 000 people received advice through the guide. Counting the number of requests for information replied to, and complaints that were dealt with, we can say that over 22 000 citizens were directly helped by the Ombudsman in 2011. Furthermore, the Ombudsman’s website received over 295 000 unique visitors.

In contrast to the reduction in the number of complaints outside my mandate, the number of inquiries opened in 2011 rose to 396, that is, showed an increase of 18 % (one-eight). This strength confirms that, increasingly, the people turning to the European Ombudsman are doing so for the right reasons. The large increase in inquiries opened is also a result of changes I have effected to my own procedures to make them more citizen-friendly. A new type of inquiry was introduced this past year to allow complainants to clarify their complaints in cases where I am not initially convinced that there are grounds to ask an EU institution for its opinion on the case.

A sustained reduction in critical remarks issued by my office is further positive evidence that the EU institutions are positively responding to my recommendations and that they are taking a more proactive role in resolving complaints and in enabling win-win outcomes. This is obviously always preferable to the complainant and the institution concerned. Over the last three years the number of critical remarks has averaged just above 34, whereas the average was just above 46 in the period 2006-2008.

This year I have again included in the annual report the category of ‘star cases’ in order to highlight illustrative examples of exemplary administrative practice by institutions and bodies revealed through my inquiries and, in addition, to emphasise that a central function of the Ombudsman institution is to strengthen and deepen a culture of service in the EU institutions and bodies by promoting and supporting best practice. Ten such star cases are highlighted in this year’s report.

The institutions’ willingness to cooperate with the Ombudsman to achieve a satisfactory resolution to complaints constitutes an important expression of their commitment to this culture of service. I also note that, in some of the cases, the constructive engagement of the complainants themselves also proved crucial to obtaining a win-win outcome.

According to a special Eurobarometer survey on citizens’ rights and on the performance of the EU administration, which was commissioned by the Parliament and the Ombudsman and was published during 2011, the right to move and reside freely in the EU is considered to be the most important citizen’s right (48 % of respondents). The second most important right is the right to good administration (33 %) followed by the right to complain to the Ombudsman (32 %). On the other hand, 42 % of respondents indicated that they are not satisfied with transparency in the EU administration, and 52 % said that the Ombudsman should ensure that citizens know their rights and how to use them.

Making a priority of the policy goal of informing citizens, in March 2011 I held the biggest stakeholder event ever organised by the Ombudsman, which was entitled ‘Is the Lisbon Treaty delivering for citizens?’ Major speakers in this event included the President of the European Council, Mr Herman Van Rompuy, the then Vice-President of the European Parliament, Mrs Diana Wallis, and the Vice-President of the European Commission, Mrs Viviane Reding.

I also published, in 2011, a booklet entitled ‘Problems with the EU? Who can help you?’ This new publication provides information on a whole range of problem-solving mechanisms available to individuals who face problems with the EU. I note that the demand for this booklet has been higher than for any other publication in the entire history of the Ombudsman.

In view of the level of dissatisfaction with transparency in the EU, I used the occasion provided by the celebration of ‘International Right to Know Day’ on 28 September to call upon the EU administration to be more proactive as regards transparency. In that context I called on the EU institutions to adopt useful, citizen-friendly online registers of documents. Furthermore, as regards my own services, in early 2011 I began publishing, on my website, information on new inquiries as soon as they are opened. This new practice makes it easier for citizens to follow the progress of inquiries right from the start.

In 2009 I adopted a mission statement for the European Ombudsman institution which reads as follows: the European Ombudsman seeks fair outcomes to complaints against European Union institutions, encourages transparency and promotes an administrative culture of service. He aims to build trust through dialogue between citizens and the European Union and to foster the highest standards of behaviour in the Union’s institutions. In order best to implement this mission statement, in 2010 I developed and adopted a strategy for the institution which forms the basis of my initiatives and activities during my current mandate as Ombudsman.

Key points of this strategy include: first, strengthening the ongoing dialogue with complainants, civil society and other stakeholders in line with central commitments enshrined in the Treaty of Lisbon; second, identifying best practices from Ombudsman colleagues through, amongst others, cooperation in the European network of ombudsmen; and third, enhancing the Ombudsman’s role in promoting an administrative culture of service in the EU institutions. In order consistently to deliver good administration – a key component of being citizen-friendly – institutions and bodies need to nourish and nurture a culture of service to citizens. A body which seeks to promote such a culture of service will encourage the members of its staff not only to respect good administration as a legal right but also to be polite, helpful and cooperative in dealing with citizens, willing to explain their activities and the reasoning behind decisions taken and ready to accept public scrutiny of their conduct. With these considerations in mind, I concluded that it would be useful to produce a concise statement of these and other public service principles which could help promote citizens’ trust in the European civil service and the EU institutions. The Public Service Principles were published on 19 June this year and are contained in a very small leaflet, which is this one. Allow me to mention them briefly. One: commitment to the European Union and its citizens; two: integrity; three: objectivity; four: respect for others; five: transparency. I am grateful to DG Personnel for having distributed the principles to everyone working within Parliament on 4 October.

President, honourable Members, as I have repeatedly indicated, this statement of pubic service principles is neither the first nor the last word about the ethical standards that apply to the EU civil service. As the submissions to the public consultation made clear, the Staff Regulations, the Financial Regulation and the Ombudsman’s widely-adopted European code of good administrative behaviour already embody such standards, both explicitly and implicitly.

Furthermore, the idea of producing a statement of pubic service principles was not to develop new ethical standards but rather to make clear the expectations of both civil servants and citizens for making an everyday reality of the ethical standards to which the EU public administration already adheres. The added value of making the standards explicit is to help generate and focus a continuous, constructive discussion among civil servants and between civil servants and the public about what behaviour is ethically appropriate. The public consultation demonstrated the value of such a debate.

The principles do not seek to duplicate existing instruments or to be a substitute for revisiting, revising and supplementing those instruments where that may be necessary. Rather I expect them to be a rich source of ideas on which I will draw in working with the institutions of the EU in the future to encourage and nurture the institutional culture that makes the principles a living reality.

 
  
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  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, the Commission welcomes Mrs Mazzoni’s very comprehensive and informative report. I would like to congratulate her and the Committee on Petitions on this very important piece of work.

As the Ombudsman reported himself, it offers a clear and exhaustive overview of the Ombudsman’s activities for the past year and represents a very useful tool for the other institutions as well. Both reports remind us very clearly of our common goal, which is to ensure open, efficient and independent European administration for our citizens.

I would also like to thank Mr Diamandouros personally for his excellent cooperation and for his assistance in enabling us to do our job better. His insights and suggestions are always very welcome, and I appreciate the very fruitful contact on a political and also on a service level.

Several figures have been offered and proposed by Mrs Mazzoni and also by Mr Diamandouros, but allow me also to bring in some of our own. The fact is that the Ombudsman’s enquiries continue to be focused mostly on the European Commission, of which they represented 58 % in 2011, which is a little bit less than in 2010, when the figure was 65 %. I also agree with the conclusions of Mrs Mazzoni’s report that to a great extent it is natural for the European Commission to be the principal addressee of the enquiries as it is the biggest institution, with executive powers. How have the complaints and cases been handled by the European Ombudsman? The European Commission had 365 replies to the Ombudsman in 2011 in comparison with 375 in 2010. We are very much aware of the importance of friendly solutions and we strive to achieve, if possible, a win-win situation. Both reports conclude that there was a positive upward trend in this direction.


We would also like to note that the number of critical remarks received by the Commission has steadily decreased since 2007. In 2011 they represented 11 % of all the enquiries closed. It is very important to mention that in 2011 the Commission sent 25 replies to the European Ombudsman’s critical remarks, and the Commission totally or partially agreed with the Ombudsman in 18 cases, which represents a considerable share of the total – 72 %.

On top of this, the number of informal procedures handled in 2011 was 99, which is also a substantial increase compared to previous years. In such cases the Ombudsman asks the Commission to reply directly to citizens without analysing the substance of the reply.

I would also like to thank the Ombudsman for holding conferences and for organising very broad public consultations on public service principles, to which we also contributed through the written contribution of the President of the Commission, Mr Barroso.

I would like also to confirm that we value and apply those principles. Even if the Staff Regulations already impose the strongest of rules for EU officials and the Commission is committed to the highest ethical values which guide its administration in contacts with the public and respects the code of good administrative conduct, we will also apply these principles across the Commission. They have been distributed to all our officials and have been posted on our internal and external websites.

Allow me to conclude by stressing once again that the Commission looks forward very much to continuing the useful and very fruitful cooperation with the Ombudsman, Parliament and the Petitions Committee.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, sehr geehrter Herr Diamandouros! Zunächst einmal möchte ich dem Europäischen Bürgerbeauftragten für seine gute Arbeit und insbesondere auch für die gute Zusammenarbeit mit dem Petitionsausschuss danken! Die Zahlen, die Sie in Ihrem Jahresbericht nennen, sprechen ja eine deutliche Sprache: 2011 wurden 2 510 Beschwerden registriert und 2 544 bearbeitet. Beeindruckend für mich war auch die relativ geringe Anzahl nicht zulässiger Beschwerden, weil wir im Petitionsausschuss noch um eine bessere Relation kämpfen. Also Kompliment auch für diese Zahl!

Die Zahlen sind für mich Beweis dafür, dass die Institution des Europäischen Bürgerbeauftragten ein wichtiger Baustein für Transparenz und die demokratische Kontrolle in der Europäischen Union ist. Gerade der Bürgerbeauftragte bietet den Menschen in der Europäischen Union einen Anlaufpunkt, wenn sie sich von europäischen Institutionen ungerecht behandelt fühlen. Dadurch trägt auch der Bürgerbeauftragte maßgeblich dazu bei, Europa für unsere Bürger greifbarer und verständlicher zu machen. Man muss wirklich eindeutig feststellen, der Bürgerbeauftragte ist dabei kein zahnloser Tiger: Hier wird hartnäckig nachgefragt und nicht locker gelassen, auch wenn der Prozess einmal länger dauert. Ich will an dieser Stelle nicht behaupten, dass die Kommission vor dem Bürgerbeauftragten zittert, aber Respekt voreinander hat man schon. Das ist eine gute Arbeitsweise, die man auch weiter pflegen kann.

Besonders freut mich, dass die Zusammenarbeit zwischen dem Petitionsausschuss und dem Bürgerbeauftragten so reibungslos funktioniert. Das Petitionsrecht und das Beschwerderecht beim Bürgerbeauftragten sind sich ergänzende Instrumente, so steht es jedenfalls geschrieben. Normalerweise – in der Politik kennt man das – könnten ergänzende Instrumente auch ein Anlasspunkt für Kompetenzstreitigkeiten sein. Die haben wir – der Petitionsausschuss und der Bürgerbeauftragte – nicht. Man könnte sagen, unser gemeinsames Arbeitsmotto könnte lauten: Im Zweifelsfall für den Bürger der Europäischen Union. Und das ist gut so!

Herr Diamondouros, ich wünsche Ihnen, dass wir diese gute Arbeit gemeinsam noch weiterhin fortsetzen können, und – natürlich ist nichts so gut, dass man es nicht noch besser machen könnte – in dem Sinne wünsche ich uns eine gute Zusammenarbeit!

 
  
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  Victor Boştinaru, în numele grupului S&D. – Doresc să îl felicit pe domnul Nikiforos Diamandouros, Ombudsmanul European, pentru un raport care, iată, încă o dată se bucură de un sprijin politic atât de substanţial şi de recunoaşterea contribuţiei Ombudsmanului European. Se întâmplă rar să ai parte de un asemenea sprijin şi de o recunoaştere din partea Comisiei, una din ţintele predilecte ale investigaţiilor dumneavoastră. Doresc de asemenea să subliniez contribuţia pe care Ombudsmanul European a avut-o la îmbunătăţirea culturii bunei administraţii, atât la nivel european cât şi la nivel naţional, ca şi excelenta cooperare pe care Comisia de petiţii a avut-o cu dumneavoastră nu doar în 2011, ci în mod sistematic în aceşti ani.

În final, raportul nostru spune un lucru care trebuie totuşi să ne îngrijoreze domnule vicepreşedinte Šefčovič: 58% dintre anchete vizează Comisia Europeană. Şi mai mult decât atât, în 2012 continuă să existe, inclusiv la Comisia de petiţii, cazuri care acuză lipsa de transparenţă şi lipsa de cooperare a Comisiei Europene în relaţiile sale cu cetăţenii europeni.

În final, vă urez succes domnule Ombudsman European şi vă doresc să aveţi acelaşi succes în efortul dumneavoastră de a convinge ombudsmanii naţionali că şi ei au o datorie fundamentală ca statele membre să-şi servească propriii cetăţeni.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki, ALDE-ryhmän puolesta. – Arvoisa puhemies, koko poliittisen ryhmäni puolesta haluan kiittää oikeusasiamies Diamandourosta ja koko hänen toimistoaan erittäin hyvästä työstä erityisesti avoimuuden puolesta ja sen puolesta, että EU:ssa olisi hyvä hallinto.

Teidän toimistonne on julkaissut hyvän hallinnon periaatteet, kiitos siitä, mutta samassa yhteydessä on kyllä valittaen annettava risuja komissiolle. Nimittäin Lissabonin sopimuksen mukaan EU-kansalaisille olisi pitänyt laatia hyvän hallinnon periaatteet, mutta komissio ei ole valitettavasti tällaista esitystä antanut. Hyvä, että oikeusasiamies on antanut, mutta ne ovat periaatteita, ne eivät ole sillä tavalla sitovia kuin laki hyvästä hallinnosta.

Toivon, että komissio vielä ennen kuin työ loppuu antaa esityksen hyvästä hallinnosta ja samalla tavalla antaisi esityksen myös avoimuudesta. Tämä esitys avoimuuden lisäämisestä, minkä te annoitte, itse asiassa se vähensi avoimuutta tai olisi vähentänyt avoimuutta, jos se olisi tullut voimaan. Tämä on häpeä. 2010-luvulla avoimuuden säännöt ovat toisenlaiset kuin mitä ne olivat 10–20 vuotta sitten.

Ryhmäni puolesta pyydän, että komissio tässä asiassa toisi parlamentille ja neuvostolle hyvän hallinnon lain ja parantaisi avoimuutta ja antaisi uuden asetuksen avoimuuden lisäämisestä.

 
  
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  Margrete Auken, for Verts/ALE-Gruppen. – Hr. Formand! Først og fremmest tak til Erminia Mazzoni for en god betænkning, hvor jeg især har lyst til at fremhæve støtten til vores Ombudsmands ønske om at få ikke bare en håndbog, men en forordning, hvor vi lever op til de løfter, som vi har givet borgerne i traktaterne, og hvor vi skal forbedre hele vejen, og vi har brug for, at EU's institutioner nu kan fremstå som et forbillede for alle vores medlemslande. Derfor er det naturligvis en forordning, vi skal have. Her vil jeg så også gerne igen takke for, at betænkningen giver klar støtte, hvilket også kom meget tydeligt frem i Diamandouros' gennemgang her: at det, der skal indføres nu, det er det såkaldte serviceprincip, altså ”culture of service”, hvor hele hensynet til borgeren er i centrum, og hvor man ikke betragter borgeren som en modstander, som man skal beskytte sig imod, men derimod som én man skal betjene. Jeg har lidt for tit mødt den kultur i Kommissionen, at borgerne var fjenden, og det må vi altså se at komme væk fra. Jeg var glad for, at hr. Šefčovič sagde nogle pæne ord om det, men vi lever altså ikke af ord alene, vi vil gerne have gerninger. Og så vil jeg godt i denne her sammenhæng også understrege, at det absolut er den bedste måde, hvis vi får kompetente embedsmænd med selvrespekt, for så har vi også en af de bedste veje til at bekæmpe korruption, fordi korruption hænger så tæt sammen med korrupte forvaltninger, og forvaltningerne skal løftes op i selvrespekt og åbenhed, transparent god kultur. Vi skal have en god forordning.

Lad mig bruge mine sidste minutter til en anden ting: Vi har diskuteret det meget høje antal klager for nogle lande, færre for andre. Vi ser det samme i Udvalget for Andragender. Lad mig her sige: Jeg synes, vi skal tage det som et godt tegn, hvis et land har aktive borgere, der tager del og kommer til os. Det er ikke nødvendigvis et tegn på, at der er meget galt i det pågældende samfund; tværtimod kunne man rose samfundet og sige: "Se! Her er et stærkt civilsamfund! Vi vil gerne støtte det!" Det er således ikke kun et spørgsmål om at komme af med klager, tværtimod: Lad os hjælpe hinanden. Tak, hr. Formand! Og tak til fru Mazzoni!

 
  
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  Willy Meyer, en nombre del Grupo GUE/NGL. – Señor Presidente, en primer lugar quiero agradecer a la señora Mazzoni, Presidenta de la Comisión de Peticiones, su informe, sobre el que vamos a votar favorablemente. Es un buen informe, que recoge de forma exhaustiva todos y cada uno de los temas que se han tratado en el Informe anual del Defensor del Pueblo Europeo, señor Diamandouros, al que también agradecemos toda su gestión y todo su trabajo.

Es verdad que usted va a tener más trabajo y todos tendremos que contribuir a acercar las instituciones a la ciudadanía y a resolver los problemas, porque todas las quejas que usted va a recibir van a tener que ver con el actual modelo productivo europeo, que es absolutamente insolidario e insostenible. Por eso, millones de personas están sufriendo dolor, están sufriendo humillación, no tienen empleo, caen en la pobreza, se les quita la vivienda. Sin lugar a dudas, en este tipo de crisis, todos tendremos que contribuir a ser mucho más diligentes y a instar a la Comisión Europea a que sea más transparente para que se puedan dar respuestas rápidas a esta ciudadanía que está pasándolo muy mal en el conjunto de la Unión Europea.

 
  
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  Νικόλαος Σαλαβράκος, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας EFD. – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, χαίρομαι ιδιαίτερα διότι, εκπροσωπώντας την τελευταία πτέρυγα της Βουλής, διαπιστώνω πλήρη ομοφωνία στην αναγνώριση του έργου του κ. Διαμαντούρου και στην εξαιρετική συνεργασία του με την Επιτροπή Αναφορών.

Αξίζουν έπαινοι στον κ. Διαμαντούρο που εκπροσωπεί και υπηρετεί επάξια έναν θεσμό συμβάλλοντας στην ποιοτική βελτίωση της διοίκησης της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και στη διασφάλιση των δικαιωμάτων των ευρωπαίων πολιτών.

Σύμφωνα με την έκθεση του Διαμεσολαβητή, καταχωρήθηκαν 2.510 αναφορές το 2011, ενώ ο θεσμός βοήθησε άμεσα περισσότερους από 22.000 πολίτες. Πολύ καλή η επίδοση αυτή· πιστεύω όμως ότι πρέπει, με κατάλληλο τρόπο, ο σημαντικός αυτός θεσμός να γίνει ευρύτερα γνωστός στους πολίτες της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, λαμβανομένου υπόψη ότι σύμφωνα με έκθεση του Ευρωβαρόμετρου, το 42% των ευρωπαίων πολιτών δεν είναι ικανοποιημένο από το επίπεδο διαφάνειας που χαρακτηρίζει τη διοίκηση της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Ο θεσμός είναι απαραίτητος και η άσκηση του θεσμού αυτού μέχρι σήμερα είναι επιτυχής.

Όπως κάθε χρόνο βεβαίως, οι περισσότερες έρευνες που διενεργήθηκαν από τον Διαμεσολαβητή αφορούσαν την Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή - το 58% περίπου - και είναι ιδιαίτερα σημαντικό να σχεδιαστούν κατάλληλα μέτρα προκειμένου να ενισχυθεί η συνεργασία με την Επιτροπή προς το συμφέρον των ευρωπαίων πολιτών. Ιδιαίτερα σ' αυτή τη δύσκολη περίοδο της κρίσης των θεσμών και των δημοκρατικών αξιών, συγχαίρω τον κ. Διαμαντούρο για τον εξαιρετικό τρόπο με τον οποίον ασκεί τα καθήκοντά του, όπως επίσης συγχαίρω και την κ. Mazzoni, Πρόεδρο της Επιτροπής Αναφορών, που συνδράμει στην καλή συνεργασία των δύο Οργάνων. Δράττομαι δε της ευκαιρίας για να δώσω έναν τόνο αισιοδοξίας και να πω ότι η κρίση θα περάσει. Πρέπει να αποκαταστήσουμε την εμπιστοσύνη των πολιτών προς τους θεσμούς και την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

 
  
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  Heinz K. Becker (PPE). - Herr Präsident, sehr geehrter Herr Kommissar, sehr geehrter Herr Bürgerbeauftragter, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Der Tätigkeitsbericht unserer Kollegin Mazzoni belegt, dass wir dem Bürgerbeauftragten für seine Arbeit im Dienst der europäischen Bürgerinnen und Bürger danken sollten, auch für die sehr gute Kooperation mit dem Europäischen Parlament, insbesondere mit dem Petitionsausschuss. Ich nenne ein ganz präzises Beispiel, das mir aufgefallen ist: Wir haben im Petitionsausschuss neben den rund 1800 Petitionen, die laufen, einen Sonderbericht zu behandeln, der sich mit Beschwerden gegenüber der Kommission befasst. Ich habe festgestellt, dass es in den vergangenen 16 Jahren nur 18-mal die Anwendung dieses sehr speziellen Instruments gab. Das beweist, mit welcher Korrektheit und Sachlichkeit diese Arbeit vom Bürgerbeauftragten und seinem Team behandelt wird.

Trotzdem möchte ich auf zwei Aspekte hinweisen, die mir aus meiner Erfahrung aufgefallen sind. Einer betrifft die noch verstärkbare Informations- und Kommunikationsarbeit für die Anliegen des Bürgerbeauftragten. Hier scheint mir, dass die 27 % der bearbeiteten Beschwerden, die tatsächlich in seinen Zuständigkeitsbereich fallen, doch im Umkehrschluss bedeuten, dass fast drei Viertel dies nicht tun und daher noch verstärkte Informationsarbeit sinnvoll ist. Ich möchte dabei auf eine Tätigkeit hinweisen, die in Österreich im öffentlich-rechtlichen Fernsehen seitens der Volksanwälte betrieben wird.

Der zweite Punkt, wo ich mich freuen würde, wenn wir beim nächsten Tätigkeitsbericht Fortschritte gemeldet bekämen, ist die Verordnung über allgemeine Verwaltungsverfahren. Es würde mich freuen, wenn bindende Mindeststandards in der gesamten Verwaltung der EU Platz greifen. Ich weiß, dass der Ombudsmann hier sehr aktiv ist. Ich wünsche uns und ganz besonders ihm eine weiterhin erfolgreiche Arbeit.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D). - Raportul pentru 2011 al Ombudsmanului European se concentrează pe sprijinirea persoanelor în mod direct, pe informarea cetăţenilor şi a altor părţi interesate, pe cooperarea cu ombudsmanii naţionali, pe implementarea unor proceduri simplificate, mai accesibile cetăţenilor, şi pe obţinerea de rezultate în beneficiul reclamanţilor.

În 2011, Ombudsmanul a ajutat mai mult de 22 000 de cetăţeni, din care 2 510 au prezentat plângeri, 1 284 au solicitat informaţii şi peste 18 000 au obţinut consiliere prin intermediul ghidului interactiv de pe site-ul internet al Ombudsmanului. În peste 65% din plângerile tratate în 2011, au fost puse în practică drepturile cetăţenilor, prin deschiderea unei anchete asupra cazului, prin transferarea cazului la un organ competent sau prin îndrumarea persoanelor către instituţia căreia trebuiau să se adreseze. Salut faptul că aproximativ 61% dintre plângerile primite în 2011 au fost depuse prin intermediul internetului şi peste jumătate dintre plângerile transmise astfel au fost primite prin formularul electronic de depunere a plângerilor de pe site-ul internet al Ombudsman-ului.

 
  
 

Intervenciones con arreglo al procedimiento de solicitud incidental de uso de la palabra («catch the eye»)

 
  
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  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE). - Szanowni Państwo! Pomimo dużych postępów w ostatnich latach odsetek rozpatrzonych skarg, które podlegały właściwości Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich, był w 2011 r. znowu stosunkowo niski. Moim zdaniem należy wziąć pod uwagę bardziej kompleksowe zwiększenie świadomości społeczeństwa, w szczególności w ścisłej współpracy z rzecznikami krajowymi i regionalnymi, Parlamentem i Komisją Europejską na temat zakresu odpowiedzialności rzecznika. Apeluję, aby w dalszym ciągu czuwał on nad jak najlepszym wykorzystaniem środków oraz współpracował z innymi instytucjami Unii Europejskiej. W pełni popieram stanowisko rzecznika, że zasady dobrego administrowania idą dalej niż przepisy prawne, wymagając od instytucji, organów, urzędów i agencji Unii Europejskiej nie tylko poszanowania obowiązków prawnych, lecz także stawiania sobie za cel służby obywatelom i dbania o to, aby poszczególni obywatele byli właściwie traktowani i mogli w pełni korzystać ze swoich praw.

 
  
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  Phil Prendergast (S&D). - Mr President, I welcome the report on the activities of the Ombudsman and recognise the important role played by this office in promoting the integrity of European public administration.

Clouds of doubt have recently been cast over the institutions regarding what the media have termed ‘Dalligate’, or the resignation of former Commissioner Dalli. Speaking at the Committee on Budgets last year, Commissioner Šemeta emphasised, in his proposals for a more efficient OLAF, the importance of certain procedural rights contained in the Charter of Fundamental Rights being protected in the course of OLAF investigations. Given this, I would like to know if the Ombudsman intends to investigate the circumstances surrounding the OLAF report into the issues surrounding the Tobacco Directive, as certainly there seem to be serious questions surrounding the procedural integrity of the whole process. I wish to thank the Ombudsman for being here.

 
  
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  Elena Băsescu (PPE). - Aş dori să o felicit şi eu pe colega mea, doamna Mazzoni, pentru munca depusă la acest raport foarte detaliat, precum şi pe domnul Diamandouros pentru activitatea dânsului în anul 2011.

Salut, de asemenea, faptul că numărul total de plângeri prezentate a scăzut în mod treptat. Mai mult, Ombudsmanul a reuşit să trateze marea majoritate din cazurile care priveau administrarea defectuoasă în activităţile instituţiilor Uniunii. De asemenea, cred că este de apreciat faptul că Ombudsmanul se străduieşte să reducă şi mai mult numărul de plângeri care nu intră în sfera sa de competenţă. Astfel, informaţiile furnizate în acest scop sunt clare şi precise şi urmăresc orientarea reclamanţilor în direcţia corectă. Totodată, noua abordare a vizat şi o modificare a procedurilor, pentru a le face mult mai accesibile cetăţenilor. În acelaşi timp, doresc să salut faptul că există o cooperare strânsă între Ombudsman şi organismele similare din statele membre.

 
  
 

(Fin de las intervenciones con arreglo al procedimiento de solicitud incidental de uso de la palabra («catch the eye»))

 
  
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  Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, firstly I would really like to show my appreciation and thank you once again for your good cooperation with the Ombudsman and with the Committee on Petitions, because it helps us to strive towards our very important goal, which is to offer a genuine culture of service from the European public administration to citizens.

If we look at the statistics we see that the number of complaints is going down. I would also like to assure you that good administrative behaviour and respect for these very important principles is something which is very important to us and is part of our everyday work.

There were a lot of comments concerning the transparency of the Commission. I agree with you that we can always do better, and I am sure that we will do better next year than we have this year. But I am still convinced that the European civil service and the European Commission is one of the most transparent public administrations you can find in Europe and in the world.

How are we going to improve our quality of work? We will continue with very intense internal training of our officials. We will be constantly increasing awareness of the importance of respect for the principles of good administrative behaviour and transparency. We are increasing the use of informal procedures, which very often help us to find amicable solutions without an unnecessary bureaucratic burden. We are looking harder for amicable solutions, and here we get very good advice from the Ombudsman. Good cooperation with you and with the good offices of the Ombudsman helps us to improve our work in this particular respect.

With regard to the area of transparency, here also over the course of the last couple of years a considerable effort has been made, and I think that together we have accomplished a great deal. For example, our joint transparency register is something which is not often found in the capitals of different countries in the world. I think there is something comparable in Washington, and now we have something similar in Vienna. We can see how this transparency register is working and attracting more and more companies to be registered.

I am fully aware that I would need the support of Parliament and of civil society to encourage the participation of, for example, law firms. We will very soon see how we want to tackle this issue in the report which we are preparing in which we will assess how the transparency register works. We are much more transparent than before with regard to the comitology register, showing how the expert groups are composed, their agendas and the results of their deliberations. We publish the minutes of their discussions, and this also compares very well with similar situations in most of our Member States.

At the same time the statistic produced by Eurobarometer is a very correct one, showing the importance of transparency and how European citizens are very often disappointed. But at the same time we should also be also proud – both Parliament and the Commission – that we are among the most trusted institutions in the European Union. If we compare, in this time of crisis, how many citizens trust the EU, the European Parliament and the Commission, I think that the percentage in many cases would be quite significantly higher than for trust in the national institutions. This is something which has to be remembered as well.

Concerning the situation of Mr Dalli – and I am sure that the Ombudsman will respond to specific questions – I would just like to reassure all of you that in the conclusions of the OLAF investigations it was very clear that his services were cleared by the OLAF report. There was no impact whatsoever on the good functioning and efficient handling of the files by the DGs. This also applies to the Tobacco Directive. I would also like to reassure you, as I did two days ago, that the Tobacco Directive will be proposed without any delay. I hope that the hearing for the new Commissioner is now some two or three weeks away. I would like to assure this House that the Tobacco Directive will be ruled on by this Parliament in the current electoral period. I believe that, after we submit the proposal to you, you will all agree that it is a very ambitious one which is very important for the health of European citizens.

 
  
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  Nikiforos Diamandouros, Ombudsman. − Mr President, let me thank all the Members of Parliament who have taken the floor and who have been good enough to speak well of the work of the European Ombudsman. We are profoundly appreciative of your support and are cognisant of the fact that your support and your good work increase the responsibilities that lie on our shoulders to be able to continue to do things better and work together with the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament with a view to serving citizens even better. I am very grateful for that and for your encouragement.

A number of MEPs raised the question of the low number of complainants and the high number of inadmissibles – Mr Jahr, Mr Becker and Mr Wałęsa. I think the important point to repeat again is that, because of the interactive guide we introduced three years ago on our website, we have now had the good result of people coming to us for the right reasons rather than the wrong reasons. This Parliament had for years been insisting that we should try to bring down the number of inadmissibles. We have done it. We have done it very significantly. I just want to say that in fact this is one of the things for which we are grateful to Parliament for suggesting that we do.

Mr Boştinaru, I want to thank you very much for your comments and your support. As you know, the ‘déformation professionnelle’ of the Ombudsman is to try to be fair, and in all fairness it is important for me to say that it is indeed the case that the Commission has the largest number of complaints – as the Commissioner said, it also accounts for 65 % of all EU civil servants – but, if you look at the star cases that the Ombudsman produced last year (ten in all), five star cases for exemplary performance went to the Commission. So we do have problems where we criticise the Commission, and we work with the Commissioner to be able to rectify maladministration, but we also have to acknowledge the areas where they actually do try, and they do very good work there.

Mrs Auken, I am very grateful to you. You know where I stand on the issue of the regulation. I was in Mrs Jäätteenmäki’s home country and in your home country only two weeks ago and I had occasion to speak with Mrs Astola of the Finnish Ministry of Justice precisely about how we can promote this kind of regulation on EU administrative law and how to serve citizens better.

I would like to congratulate Mrs Prendergast first of all on the decision of her own Parliament in Ireland yesterday significantly to expand the mandate of the Irish Ombudsman and to add 140 new bodies to her remit. This was a long-overdue reform and I can only applaud it, as a colleague, and convey, through you, our happiness that this is the case. Concerning your question, Mrs Prendergast, on the Tobacco Directive, the answer is that the European Ombudsman, to date, has not received any complaint concerning the directive. If we were to receive a complaint, of course we would have to ensure that before coming to us the complainants had addressed OLAF as the appropriate body for ensuring that the appropriate measures had been complied with – or any other kind of EU institution that might be involved, in this particular case the Commission.

Finally, I would like once again to acknowledge Commissioner Šefčovič’s continuing offer regarding good administration. We take it very seriously, we rely on it, we look forward to working with you and I very much assure you that we have taken note of the increase in the cooperation of the Commission in finding, through informal procedures, friendly solutions which are good for you, good for us and, above all, good for the citizen.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni, relatrice. − Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ho molto apprezzato il dibattito di stasera, credo che ci sia stata una plastica dimostrazione di come si possano creare buone reti di cooperazione civica che portano a dei risultati: gli interventi di tutti i colleghi parlamentari membri della commissione per le petizioni hanno dimostrato quanto sia condivisibile l'analisi degli sforzi del Mediatore europeo e quanto possano essere – e questo è più importante – condivisi gli obiettivi di questo lavoro.

Senza dubbio c'è anche una forma di sinergia e di osmosi tra i due organismi che ci aiuta a raccogliere le esperienze migliori l'uno dall'altro, quindi noi cercheremo di mutuare dal Mediatore europeo l'esperienza dell'informatizzazione dei servizi per avvicinarci ai cittadini, se non fisicamente, attraverso questi nuovi strumenti della tecnologia ed essere più efficienti. Il Mediatore indubbiamente avvicinerà anche i nostri rapporti come ha fatto anche in altre occasioni accompagnando quelle istanze dei cittadini che vengono erroneamente inoltrate al Mediatore e che invece appartengono alla competenza della commissione per le petizioni. Così come colgo l'occasione per ringraziare il Mediatore, che in maniera sempre molto corretta e puntuale ha ribadito quali siano le prerogative della commissione per le petizioni rinviando in maniera critica le denunce, credo forse una denuncia, che è stata formulata da un cittadino nei confronti dei comportamenti della commissione per le petizioni che rappresento, con questo dando ulteriore conferma della linearità e della trasparenza dei nostri rapporti.

Ringrazio molto il commissario Šefčovič per la sua puntuale presenza, per lo sforzo che profonde ogni giorno e non ho dubbi che gli auspici che ha fatto siano tutti estremamente sentiti e sono convinta che saranno anche realizzabili per quanto lo riguarda. Purtroppo però negli anni ho verificato che permangono, nonostante le buone intenzioni, le lentezze della Commissione ad adeguarsi a quelli che sono i reali bisogni di maggiore semplificazione, maggiore immediatezza, distanze ravvicinate che vengono dai cittadini attraverso le istanze che il Mediatore e la commissione PETI ricevono quotidianamente. È su questo dato non estremamente positivo che rivolgo per l'ennesima volta una preghiera al Commissario Šefčovič che so sinceramente impegnato a curare gli interessi dei cittadini europei.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Se cierra el debate.

La votación tendrá lugar mañana a las 11.30 horas.

Declaraciones por escrito (artículo 149 del Reglamento)

 
  
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  Ágnes Hankiss (PPE), írásban. – Mindenek előtt gratulálni szeretnék a Mazzoni asszony által előadott jelentés kidolgozottságához. Az európai ombudsman az utóbbi két évben ígéretes lépéseket tett annak érdekében, hogy tevékenységét az Unió polgárai számára átláthatóvá tegye. Úgy gondolom, ezt az irányt főként most, hogy közeleg az Európai Polgárok Éve, nem téveszthetjük szem elől. Érdemes hangsúlyozni azonban, hogy míg a Lisszaboni Szerződés újabb jogokkal, jelesül a polgári kezdeményezés lehetőségével vértezte fel a közvetlen demokrácia világát, óvatosnak kell lennünk az információszabadságot érintő kritikus hatáskörök tekintetében. Miként azt tavaly októberi felszólalásomban szorgalmaztam, az információhoz való hozzáférés vonatkozásában tiszteletben kell tartani, hogy mind rendvédelmi, mind biztonság- és védelempolitikai területen olyan információk keletkezhetnek, amelyeknek titkossága az európai polgárok biztonságát garantálja – ekképpen a minősített információval kapcsolatban nem vethető fel a szabadabb hozzáférés követelménye, különösen nem a politikai marketing jegyében. Ugyanakkor fontos és a jelentés szempontjából is példaértékű törekvés, ha az ombudsman magára vállalja, hogy az intézményrendszer és az intézményi gyakorlat bizonyos értelemben a polgárok igényeivel és törekvéseivel együtt alakul és fejlődik. Szerencsés gyakorlatnak tekinthető az, ha lehetőleg minden felmerülő problémát helyben vagyunk képesek kezelni világos és átlátható normák alapján. Reméljük, hogy az ombudsman e szempontok alapján és a társadalmi igényekre nyitottan kívánja ellátni feladatát.

 
  
 

(La sesión, suspendida a las 20.15 horas, se reanuda a las 21.00 horas)

 
  
  

PRESIDENZA DELL'ON. ROBERTA ANGELILLI
Vicepresidente

 
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