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Postupak : 2013/2051(INI)
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Odabrani dokument : A7-0257/2013

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A7-0257/2013

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PV 12/09/2013 - 8
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Rasprave
Četvrtak, 12. rujna 2013. - Strasbourg Revidirano izdanje

8. Djelovanje Europskog ombudsmana u 2012. godini
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  Der Präsident. − Als erster Punkt der Tagesordnung folgt die Aussprache über den Bericht von Nikolaos Salavracos im Namen des Petitionsausschusses über den Jahresbericht 2012 über die Tätigkeit des Europäischen Bürgerbeauftragten (2013/2051 (INI)) (A7-0257/2013).

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE). - Signor Presidente, anzitutto benvenuto tra noi e tanti cari auguri. Mi sembra doveroso porgerglieli.

Quest'oggi in Italia, su iniziativa della Federazione di atletica leggera e del Comitato olimpico, si celebra il "Mennea day": ricorre oggi, infatti, l'anniversario dell'indimenticabile record del mondo di 19 secondi e 72 centesimi sui 200 metri stabilito a Città del Messico nel 1979 dall'atleta Pietro Mennea. Questo record è durato ben 17 anni, battuto solo nel 1996 da Michael Johnson. Mennea è morto il 21 marzo scorso, all'età di 60 anni.

Voglio ricordare qui Mennea perché dal 1999 al 2004 egli è stato anche membro di questo Parlamento. Fu autore della relazione Mennea – relazione di Helsinki sullo sport – e si batté per l'istituzione di un'agenzia europea per la lotta al doping credendo fortemente in uno sport pulito, libero da organismi non sempre interessati a promuoverne i valori limpidi e cristallini.

La vittoria di Mennea nel 1979 rappresentò un momento di orgoglio e di riscatto per il Suditalia, una terra che a quell'epoca era priva di impianti e di organizzazioni sportive, ma la forza caparbia di Mennea, giovane figlio del Sud, allenatosi per strada e con gli amici, riuscì a portarlo comunque alla conquista dell'oro olimpico incarnando i sogni e le speranze di un'intera generazione di giovani meridionali.

Oggi in tante piazze d'Italia si svolgeranno eventi sportivi per ricordare il campione barlettano. A Barletta e nelle altre sette città che l'hanno visto protagonista di successi si svolgeranno gare con i campioni di ieri e di oggi.

Per concludere, signor Presidente, ho ritenuto doveroso porgergli qui un tributo e un ricordo perché è stato un parlamentare impegnato a favore dello sport in quest'Aula di Strasburgo e perché anche questo Parlamento lo ricordi nel "Mennea day".

 
  
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  Νικόλαος Σαλαβράκος, Εισηγητής. − Κύριε Πρόεδρε, χαίρομαι ιδιαίτερα που σας έχουμε πάλι κοντά μας και εύχομαι να μην έχετε άλλο ατύχημα. Αισθάνομαι την υποχρέωση να επαινέσω τον Διαμεσολαβητή μας, τον κύριο Διαμαντούρο, ο οποίος έχει εκπροσωπήσει και υπηρετήσει επάξια τον θεσμό τα τελευταία δέκα χρόνια· ένα θεσμό ο οποίος ενώνει τους Ευρωπαίους πολίτες και τους δημιουργεί ένα ασφαλές αίσθημα καταφυγής. Θέλω να ευχαριστήσω τους σκιώδεις εισηγητές για τις τροπολογίες τους και για την εποικοδομητική συνεργασία τους προς ολοκλήρωση της ετήσιας έκθεσης για τον Ευρωπαίο Διαμεσολαβητή του έτους 2012. Ως εισηγητής της έκθεσης σημειώνω την πρόοδο που έχει επιτελέσει ο θεσμός, διαπιστώνοντας ότι σε σχέση με πέρυσι είναι ακόμη μεγαλύτερη. Θεωρώ ότι είναι σημαντικό να σας αναφέρω κάποια σημεία της εκθέσεως που αναδεικνύουν την πρόοδο που έχει επιτευχθεί.

Συγκεκριμένα, το 2012 υπήρξε μια ιδιαίτερα παραγωγική χρονιά καθώς ο αριθμός των ερευνών που διεξήχθησαν και περαιώθησαν ξεπέρασε κάθε προηγούμενο. Οι συνολικές έρευνες που ξεκίνησαν σημείωσαν αύξηση κατά 18% σε σχέση με την αντίστοιχη περίοδο του 2011. Ο αριθμός των ερευνών που περαιώθησαν αυξήθηκε κατά 23% σε σύγκριση με την προηγούμενη χρονιά. Όπως και το 2011, ο Διαμεσολαβητής εξυπηρέτησε άμεσα περισσότερους από 22.000 πολίτες, εξετάζοντας τις αναφορές τους, απαντώντας στα αιτήματά τους και παρέχοντας συμβουλές μέσω του διαδραστικού οδηγού στον δικτυακό τόπο. Χάρις στις χρήσιμες συμβουλές που παρέχει ο οδηγός, ο αριθμός των αναφορών που ήταν εκτός της αρμοδιότητας του Διαμεσολαβητή ήταν ο χαμηλότερος της τελευταίας δεκαετίας. Το 69% των ερευνών περατώθηκε εντός ενός έτους, ποσοστό μάλιστα που είναι ελαφρά βελτιωμένο σε σχέση με το 2011, όπου το ποσοστό ήταν 66%.

Οι περισσότερες έρευνες που ξεκίνησαν το 2012, αφορούσαν μορφές εικαζόμενης κακοδιοίκησης σε ζητήματα νομιμότητος, πρόσβασης σε στοιχεία και πληροφορίες, ακριβοδίκαιης μεταχείρισης και τήρησης των ευλόγων προθεσμιών κατά τη λήψη των αποφάσεων. Μεταξύ άλλων η αρμοδιότητα του Διαμεσολαβητή για τα δικαιώματα των ατόμων με αναπηρία αναγνωρίστηκε στην απόφαση του Συμβουλίου η οποία επικύρωσε το σχετικό πλαίσιο της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης δυνάμει της Σύμβασης των Ηνωμένων Εθνών για τα δικαιώματα των ατόμων με αναπηρίες. Ο Διαμεσολαβητής συνεργάζεται με τέσσερα άλλα όργανα, μεταξύ των οποίων η Επιτροπή Αναφορών του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου, με στόχο να προστατεύσει, να προαγάγει και να παρακολουθήσει την υλοποίηση της Σύμβασης.

Κύριοι συνάδελφοι, συγχαίρω θερμά τη νέα Διαμεσολαβητή, την κυρία O' Reilly, για την εκλογή της και επιθυμώ να της ευχηθώ το καλύτερο για τα νέα της καθήκοντα. Είμαι σίγουρος ότι θα συνεχίσει το όραμα του απερχομένου Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή με αφοσίωση, με δυναμισμό και με απώτερο στόχο το συμφέρον των Ευρωπαίων πολιτών.

Εκφράζω στον κύριο Διαμαντούρο την ευγνωμοσύνη μου για το υποδειγματικό έργο το οποίο πραγματοποίησε ως Ευρωπαίος Διαμεσολαβητής την τελευταία δεκαετία και για τα αποτελέσματα που πέτυχε καθιστώντας την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση δικαιότερη και διαφανέστερη. Σαν Έλληνας είμαι υπερήφανος για αυτόν. Του εύχομαι να έχει καλή υγεία, ατομική και οικογενειακή ευτυχία και επιτυχία στις μελλοντικές επιδιώξεις του.

 
  
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  Nikiforos Diamandouros, Ombudsman. − Mr President, before I begin my remarks, may I just, with great pleasure, welcome you back. I am delighted to see that you are in very good health and wish you very well.

This is obviously a moment replete with some degree of emotion for me. I would like to thank Parliament for the opportunity to address you on the subject of my annual report for the year 2012. To begin with I would like to express my profound thanks to your rapporteur, Mr Salavrakos, for his thorough and insightful report on the Ombudsman’s activities and my gratitude to the Committee on Petitions for serving as a valuable source of inspiration and support to the Ombudsman throughout my decade in office. I particularly wish to record my gratitude to Mr Salavrakos for the remarks on a personal level that he has just made. They touched me deeply.

In 2012, over 22 000 citizens were directly helped by the Ombudsman. Of these, around 19 000 received advice through the interactive guide on my website. We should not underestimate how important it is for citizens to be guided to the most appropriate complaint-handling body from the outset and to be spared the frustrations and delays associated with having to identify the right institution on their own.

In 2012 I also received a total of 2 442 complaints from citizens, enterprises, NGOs, associations and others. The 465 inquiries opened in 2012 represent an increase of 18 % compared to the previous year. This again follows a similar increase of 18 % in 2011. The trend towards more people turning to the European Ombudsman for the right reasons is confirmed by the continued fall in the number of complaints received that are outside the mandate. In 2012 the number of such complaints stood at 1 720, which is the lowest in ten years. I attribute this success, which this body had persistently been asking me for, to the interactive guide that I mentioned earlier.

In 2012, 390 inquiries were closed. In 89 cases, the institution concerned settled the matter, agreed to a friendly solution or accepted a draft recommendation. Most of the other cases were closed with a finding either of no maladministration or that no further inquiries were needed. I found maladministration in 56 cases. The institutions accepted a draft recommendation either in part or in full in nine of these while the other 47 were closed with critical remarks. In 30 cases I made further remarks to help improve future performance.

In 2012 we were able for the first time to provide a concrete answer to the question of how well the institutions cooperate with the European Ombudsman in seeking to improve their performance. In two publications produced last year, the follow-up study to critical and further remarks and a new compliance report, we found that in 82 % of cases the EU institutions complied with the Ombudsman’s suggestions.

I will take advantage of Vice-President Reding’s presence, who I had not acknowledged when I thanked her for being here, to also note that the degree of compliance for the Commission last year stood at exactly 82 %. Helping to ensure the highest standards of behaviour in the institutions constitutes a key element of the Ombudsman’s mission.

During 2012, following a public consultation, we formulated and published a set of public service principles. The five principles represent a succinct statement of what citizens and civil servants alike expect of the EU civil service. They are: (1) commitment to the European Union and its citizens (2) integrity (3) objectivity (4) respect for others and (5) transparency. These principles take account of best practice in the Member States and among other things should help civil servants to understand and apply correctly the plethora of codes and regulations governing their activities.

Since I will be retiring at the end of this month, I wish also to use this opportunity to provide you with a short overview of what I think have been the notable achievements and important experiences of the institution which you elected me to lead three times over the past decade.

In basic numbers, over the last ten and a half years the European Ombudsman dealt with more than 30 000 complaints and opened almost 3 500 in-depth investigations into alleged maladministration by the EU institutions. During the same period the EU administration has become more transparent, more citizen-friendly and more service-minded. I am convinced that the independent and impartial work of the Ombudsman has contributed to this notable progress towards an administration culture of service to citizens.

We have achieved tangible results in many fields especially as regards transparency, ethical issues such as conflicts of interest and citizens’ rights. Since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force in 2009 and the Charter of Fundamental Rights became legally binding, the Ombudsman has become increasingly active in the area of citizens’ rights in relation, for example, to the European Citizens’ Initiative, the institutions’ obligation to conduct an open and regular dialogue with civil society and other ways of increased citizen participation including public consultations.

The Ombudsman has also participated in multiple ways in decision-making and opinion-forming at the European level and in strengthening cooperation with the European Network of Ombudsmen. Important parts of my work have involved adapting the Ombudsman’s Office to take account of enlargement, the reform of the Ombudsman Statute, advising on the establishment of the Ombudsman institution in Turkey, agreeing the Memorandum of Understanding with the European Data Protection Supervisor in the European Investment Bank, enhancing the Ombudsman's role in relation to the protection of human and fundamental rights, strengthening the European network of Ombudsmen and, not least, providing Parliament with information and recommendations in a number of fields.

Promoting an administrative culture of service to citizens requires a moral investment on the part of the Ombudsman and on the part of Parliament and the other institutions and bodies of the Union.

It asks of the Ombudsman to be proactive, to be imaginative and to be creative in thinking of ways to bring about changes in the mindset of the institutions. Above all, however, promoting a culture of service demands of the Ombudsman institution the intellectual commitment and administrative capacity to adopt citizen-focused strategies geared to the maintenance and observance of the highest ethical standards. Such attributes constitute the necessary foundation on which to build the moral and political capital that is needed to make it possible for the Ombudsman to live up to the added responsibilities and heavy expectations associated with being viewed as an important institutional counterweight to executive power, capable of speaking truth to power and endowed with moral authority allowing him or her to contribute substantively to the deepening of the rule of law and to the enhancement of the quality of democracy within the European Union.

It is important to acknowledge that little progress would have been possible without the good cooperation of the leadership and staff of the EU institutions. Meaningfully, creatively and proactively engaging in a regular and structured dialogue with the institutions, for which the Ombudsman serves as an external mechanism of control, constitutes a central element of my deeply held view that the Ombudsman should not be regarded as an institutional expression of a culture of blame, which tends to breed a defensive mentality in the institutions and staff. Rather, my objective has been proactively to promote a culture of service to citizens and of active respect for their rights.

With respect to the Commission, I wish here to acknowledge the support of successive Commissioners for administration, international relations and fundamental rights. We have also built an excellent framework of cooperation with the European Investment Bank. A further source of satisfaction is that the agencies of the EU have in their overwhelming majority cooperated fully with me in promoting the principles of a culture of service in their relations with citizens. I again profit from the presence of Ms Reding to also underline the way in which she, from her new portfolio – that is extremely important for us – has been supportive of the Ombudsman over the past few years and I want to thank her for that.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the central role of Parliament in general, and its Committee on Petitions in particular, in providing generous support to the Ombudsman institution. Parliament has ensured that the Ombudsman has the budgetary and human resources needed to work effectively and has provided firm political support for the Ombudsman’s efforts to achieve progress and good administration in the defence of citizens’ rights. This has been a collaborative endeavour which I believe has achieved notably good results for citizens.

I will conclude with some reflections on the challenges for the future. Parliament has, in its collective wisdom, elected Ms Emily O’Reilly as my successor. As the outgoing Irish Ombudsman, Ms O’Reilly comes well prepared for the tasks lying ahead. During her 10 years in office in Ireland, she distinguished herself on both the domestic and international fronts. Domestically, she presided over the major enlargement and renovation of her institution and over the subsequent enhancement of its moral authority and its political weight. Internationally, she played a central role in the growth and development of both the British and Irish Ombudsmen Association and the European Network of Ombudsmen as vibrant and more professional groups.

Last, but certainly not least, as the very first female European Ombudsman, she brings to her task the ingenuity, emotional intelligence and intuition especially associated with her gender. As such, she comes superbly prepared for the challenges facing her institution. One such challenge is the economic situation which both the citizens whom we serve and the institutions we are tasked to help have to face, in all likelihood, for quite some time. Another challenge will be to cope with and adjust to technological change, environmental, economic and financial problems, increasing but also ageing populations, and many others including migration. These challenges are leaving their deep imprint on the evolving relationship between the EU and its citizens. In turn, the expectations which citizens hold of the EU that serves them are a function of two central parameters: the problems they face, and the tools they have at their disposal in order to make their demands known. The challenge for the European Ombudsman is to be both responsive to the changing needs and demands of citizens and, at the same time, be aware of the pressures and constraints that the institutions face.

I wish my successor well and I thank you all for your attention and for your support for the past 10 years, and for the honour that you have bestowed upon me three times to serve you.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Vizepräsidentin der Kommission. − Herr Präsident! Es ist gut, Sie wieder hier zu sehen!

I would like to thank Mr Salavrakos and the Committee on Petitions for the excellent report on the activities of the European Ombudsman in 2012. This report is important because it shows us how the controller of the controller views the way that this very citizen-centred work has been put in place.

This work has been put in place because you, Mr Diamandouros, over all this time, have first of all built up an institution and then led it. This required patience, professionalism and wisdom. You had all three of them, and I think that Parliament was very wise three times to give you the responsibility of leading this institution.

Mr Salavrakos’s report also looks back and highlights what has been achieved in recent years. This includes constant efforts to deepen dialogue with citizens, and I hear with great pleasure that citizens increasingly know what the responsibility of the Ombudsman entails, so this institution is becoming a real fact of life for citizens. That recognition takes time to build and you have managed to do just that – a real achievement. You have also managed, by deepening the dialogue not only with citizens but also with the institutions and with civil society, to strengthen the rights of citizens to participate in democratic life. The action to make European decision-making more transparent and more responsible is a much-needed one.

We see in 2013, which is the European Year of Citizens, the extent to which citizens still lack knowledge about how the EU institutions function and what they are doing for them. I was shocked by the latest Eurobarometer figures indicating that only one third of citizens think that their voice counts. So there is still a lot of work to do to enable citizens to understand that these institutions are at their service. You, Mr Diamandouros, have played a crucial role in having this administrative culture of service to the citizens instilled in the institutions. Thank you for this and for your remarkable performance over the past 10 years.

Thank you also for putting on the table, in your speech just now, what you see as the challenges for the coming years, which we need to tackle collectively. I can tell the House that between the Commission and Mr Diamandouros there has always been open, loyal and fruitful collaboration marked by mutual respect. So thank you once again, Mr Diamandouros because you were at the centre of this practice of collaborating together. I wish you a very happy, healthy and active retirement. Can we come back to you and ask you any questions we may have, taking advantage of the wisdom you have accumulated on this subject over the last 10 years?

Turning to the more factual part of today’s debate, the report recognises the major efforts made by the EU institutions in general, including the Commission, to become more transparent. In fact, transparency-related complaints decreased from 36% in 2008 to 21.5% in 2012, which shows that great progress has been made. This is an encouraging trend.

I also note that most of the inquiries opened concerned the Commission. This is normal because the Commission, as the executive arm of the Union, is the institution taking most of the decisions which have a direct and far-reaching impact on citizens. I note, however, that the number of inquiries decreased in 2012 by 5%, which shows that while Commission is the focus of the most inquiries their incidence is slowly going down. This may be because the Commission has taken due account of the call by Parliament to adopt common binding rules and principles on administrative procedure on the basis of Article 298 of the Treaty.

There will be a detailed stocktaking of existing administrative law and possible shortcomings across all the institutions and there will be an assessment of the approaches taken to these issues in the Member States. The aim is to bring together the relevant information on citizens’ existing administrative rights in one central place on a website in order to address the point that you, Ombudsman, have underlined: people need to know to whom to address themselves to get an answer. This is very important for all our institutions.

The Commission is also giving due consideration to the comments by the Ombudsman on the expansion of Vienna airport and to the comments in Parliament’s own-initiative report, with a view to bringing clarity to the matter.

The Commission has submitted a proposal for an amendment of Directive 2011/92 on the assessment of certain public and private projects on the environment. This proposal is widely supported – it has been supported by the Committee on Petitions and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety – and I now expect that the co-legislators can conclude the negotiations as quickly as possible. This will mean that in future we can avoid attracting special comment from your successor, Mr Ombudsman.

I am pleased the Salavrakos report notes that in nearly 18 years the European Ombudsman has presented only 18 special reports. This is clear proof that problems are being resolved before reports have to be issued, as I assume there have been more than 18 problems! If in 18 years there have been only 18 cases on which reports have been needed, this shows that very many problems can be solved by a cooperative approach before they need to come into the open. That is very good.

To bring clarity to these matters and to future issues, the Commission will continue to work in the same spirit of loyal and constructive cooperation with the incoming European Ombudsman, Ms Emily O’Reilly, whom I would like to congratulate on her election and whom I look forward to meeting very soon.

I would like to say a last word to the Committee on Petitions. Its work is of the utmost importance and I saw, in this Year of Citizens when I had the citizens’ dialogues, that many people are aware of the existence of the Committee on Petitions. It is very important that people should be aware of it because, as the Parliament represents citizens, the first thing that should happen when something goes wrong is for citizens to go to those who represent them. I am glad to hear that the collaboration between the Committee on Petitions and the Ombudsman works so smoothly. That is how things should be, and they are so because there are wise people in the Committee on Petitions and there has been a very wise Ombudsman, whom I would like to thank for 10 years of wonderful service to citizens.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Lena Kolarska-Bobińska, w imieniu grupy PPE. – Panie Przewodniczący! W imieniu Europejskiej Partii Ludowej chciałabym wyrazić głęboką wdzięczność panu Diamandourosowi za pracę, jaką wykonał w ciągu ostatnich lat. Komisja Petycji przygotowała sprawozdanie, które nie nasuwało żadnych wątpliwości – wszyscy byliśmy zgodni co do tego, że był Pan naprawdę świetnym Europejskim Rzecznikiem Praw Obywatelskich. Z jednej strony zwiększył Pan efektywność i przejrzystość pracy administracji europejskiej, a z drugiej wprowadzał zmiany, innowacje, starał się bardzo poprawić sposób reakcji na skargi obywateli. Nie zawsze udaje się w administracji łączyć dbałość o substancję z wprowadzaniem innowacji, zmian, a Panu się to udało. Przyglądałam się też Pana pracy, kiedy byłam członkiem sektora pozarządowego, a następnie tu w Parlamencie Europejskim, i naprawdę jest Pan wzorem urzędnika, wzorem sposobu pełnienia tej funkcji.

Sukcesem było stworzenie systemu umożliwiającego szybkie odpowiadanie na skargi obywateli. Objął on również wszczynanie postępowań, ale też, co bardzo ważne, dostarczanie informacji potrzebnych do zrozumienia wielu kwestii, bo z tym obywatele mają najwięcej trudności – z rozumieniem prawa, sposobu rozwiązywania wielu spraw funkcjonowania instytucji europejskich. Szereg postępowań wszczynał Pan sam – o czym wspominała już pani komisarz – na przykład w sprawie ochrony interesu obywatelskiego związanego z pracami nad lotniskiem wiedeńskim.

Członkowie PPE i Komisji Petycji szczególnie cenią sobie pięć zasad dotyczących służby cywilnej w Unii Europejskiej, które Pan przyjął. Podkreślaliśmy to w naszym sprawozdaniu. Te pięć zasad to: oddanie Unii, rzetelność, obiektywizm, szacunek dla innych oraz przejrzystość. Nie ma już czasu na wymienianie innych Pana zasług. Serdecznie dziękuję i jestem przekonana, że również pani O'Reilly będzie fantastycznym rzecznikiem i będzie kontynuowała te tradycje, które Pan osadził w tym miejscu.

(oklaski)

 
  
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  Kinga Göncz, a S&D képviselőcsoport nevében. – Elnök Urat szeretném én is köszönteni újra körünkben és Diamandurosz Urat is, akinek szeretném megköszönni a munkáját az S&D frakció nevében. Az európai ombudsmannak fontos szerepe van abban, hogy az Európai Unió intézményei átláthatóbban és szolgálatkészebben végezzék a tevékenységüket. Elengedhetetlen, hogy az ombudsman pártatlan intézmény legyen, és a tisztség viselője pedig feddhetetlen, tekintélyes személy.

A több mint 10 év után, október 1-jén leköszönő Nikiforosz Diamandurosz úr ilyen európai ombudsman volt.

Tavaly több mint 22 000 európai polgár fordult különböző panaszokkal az ombudsmanhoz, egyszerűen csak tájékoztatásért vagy panasszal. A panaszok egyebek mellett a tájékoztatás megtagadására, a hátrányos megkülönböztetés, a személyes adatokkal való visszaélés eseteire vonatkoztak. Az ombudsman akkor végzi jól a dolgát, ha az írott szabályok, és az íratlan etikai normák betartását egyaránt számon kéri az illetékes hivatalokon.

Az elmúlt évben csökkent azoknak a száma, akik csak tájékoztatásért keresték fel az ombudsmani hivatalt. Ez arról tanúskodik, hogy a polgárok választ találtak a kérdéseikre az ombudsman internetes oldalán. A jelentésben arra teszünk javaslatot, hogy valamennyi uniós intézmény, sőt a parlament képviselői is tegyék fel honlapjukra az útmutatóra vezető közvetlen hivatkozást, ezzel is segítve az ombudsman munkáját.

Az ombudsman tevékenységének egyik legfontosabb területe az alapvető jogok biztosításának garantálása, ennek keretében is a fogyatékossággal élők integrációjának a segítése. Miután az Európai Unió csatlakozott a fogyatékossággal élő személyek jogairól szóló ENSZ-egyezményhez, az európai intézményeknek végre kell hajtaniuk az abban foglalt előírásokat.

A következő ombudsmantól azt várjuk, hogy kérje számon az európai intézményeken az egyezmény teljesítését, többek között az akadálymentesítést, az internetes oldalak, a kiadványok hozzáférhetővé tételét a vakok és gyengén látók, az olvasási és megértési nehézségekkel küzdők számára. A tegnapi Freedom Drive résztvevői nyomatékosan emlékeztettek bennünket arra, hogy nagyon kevés történt eddig az ő helyzetük javítására, európai és tagállami szinten is.

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann, im Namen der ALDE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident, liebe Kollegen und Kolleginnen, Frau Vizepräsidentin, Herr Diamandouros! Der Jahresbericht liegt uns vor und ist uns, denke ich, sehr wohl allen bekannt und zeigt vor allem die ausgewogene Arbeit von Ihnen, Her Diamandouros.

Ich greife einige Punkte heraus: Transparenz. Obwohl in der Verwaltung der EU-Organe Transparenz herrscht, empfindet noch immer ein ganz großer Teil der Bürger und Bürgerinnen das eben nicht so. Es ist daher alles zu tun, um unseren Bürgern entsprechende Informationen zu vermitteln. In diesem Zusammenhang möchte ich auch die Zusammenarbeit erwähnen. Organe, Einrichtungen und Stellen der EU sind aufgerufen, mit dem Bürgerbeauftragten noch besser zusammenzuarbeiten und so den interinstitutionellen Dialog zu verbessern und damit auch einen Beitrag zur Verbesserung des Image der EU zu leisten. Der Sonderbericht bezüglich der Erweiterung des Flughafens in Wien zeigt sehr gut, dass durch hervorragende Zusammenarbeit aller Beteiligten sich auch wirklich gute Lösungen für alle ergeben können.

Abschließend möchte ich noch auf einen Punkt hinweisen, der mir als Berichterstatterin für den Bericht für Frauen mit Behinderungen auch wichtig ist, nämlich, dass man sich den Bedürfnissen der Menschen, die besonders schutzbedürftig sind, noch viel mehr annehmen muss. Ich zähle, wie gesagt, Menschen mit Behinderungen dazu, ich zähle aber auch Kinder dazu. In diesem Punkt möchte ich zur Überwachung der Einhaltung der entsprechenden Übereinkommen der Vereinten Nationen aufrufen.

Zum Abschluss wünschen wir Ihnen noch alles Gute und danken für die hervorragende Zusammenarbeit und Ihren Einsatz!

(Die Rednerin ist damit einverstanden, eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“ gemäß Artikel 149 Absatz 8 der Geschäftsordnung zu beantworten.)

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE), Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. – Herr Präsident! Ich möchte die Kollegin Werthmann fragen: Transparenz ist für uns alle sehr wichtig, und der Bürgerbeauftragte hat hier gute Standards gesetzt. Glauben Sie, dass das Lobbyregister, das derzeit in der Europäischen Union besteht, insbesondere auch bei den NGO mehr Transparenz im Bereich der Finanzierung der NGO schaffen sollte, weil wir natürlich schon wissen müssen, welche Interessen die NGO in den verschiedenen Bereichen haben, und vor allem ob sie von außerhalb Europas finanziert werden?

 
  
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  Angelika Werthmann (ALDE), Antwort auf eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. – Herr Kollege Rübig, ich bin selbstverständlich Ihrer Meinung, und ich denke, dass hier in puncto Transparenz noch wesentlich mehr getan werden muss. Ich denke, dass sich auch die Nachfolgerin von Herrn Diamandouros sehr wohl dafür einsetzen wird. Ich bin überzeugt davon, dass sich der Petitionsausschuss entsprechend starkmachen wird.

 
  
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  Margrete Auken, for Verts/ALE-Gruppen. – Hr. formand! Jeg har tre ting at sige. Først en stor tak til hr. Salavrakos for en god betænkning, og selvfølgelig en meget stor tak til hr. Diamandouros for hans fantastiske arbejde, som har været med til at gøre ombudsmandsinstitutionen til en solid - jeg ved ikke hvor solid den er, jeg håber en solid - institution blandt EU-institutionerne og en, som borgerne kan bruge rigtigt. Jeg vil sige tak til os alle sammen, fordi vi sikrede, at vi kunne fortsætte den tradition, og at vi nu igen trods vanskeligheder har fået en rigtig ombudsmand, som kan bygge videre på institutionen. Og dermed jo altså også et stort til lykke til borgerne, som vi har sikret en fortsat og forhåbentligt øget god adgang.

Det næste, jeg vil nævne, er den stadig manglende regulering om god administration. Jeg kunne ikke helt høre fra fru Redings tale, om den er ved at komme, men jeg vil godt sige, at det altså faktisk er afgørende, at vi får den, og at den kommer til at bygge på serviceprincippet, så borgeren er i centrum, så det drejer sig om at beskytte borgeren og ikke embedsmændene. Det er det bedste værn mod korruption og det bedste kort, vi overhovedet kan give vores EU, at borgerne oplever, at de får en god og redelig behandling her. Derfor fatter jeg ikke, at det har været så svært at komme igennem med det.

Det sidste jeg vil nævne, er den sag, som alle kandidaterne til ombudsmandsposten fremhævede Diamandourus for, nemlig at han havde sikret åbenhed omkring medicinalindustrien, og at han oven i købet havde fået overtalt EMA til at følge op. Men hvad sker der så? Så tager Domstolen fuldstændig pr. refleks parti for industrien! Og lammer alting i to år. Jeg mener, det skal nævnes her som en veritabel skandale, at man har tilsidesat ombudsmandens bestemmelse, at man har tilsidesat os, at man har tilsidesat forordning 1049/2001, at man har tilsidesat charteret i Domstolen, fordi man har sagt, at skulle det nu ske, at industrien skulle vinde, så ville de jo have tabt. Hvad med borgerne? Hvad med borgernes helbred? Tak, hr. Diamandourus for et meget flot arbejde for EMA. Til sidst til os alle sammen: Der er lang vej endnu!

 
  
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  Νικόλαος Χουντής, εξ ονόματος της ομάδας GUE/NGL. – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, εκ μέρους της Ομάδας της Ενωτικής Αριστεράς, θέλω να επισημάνω ότι υποστηρίζουμε την έκθεση του συναδέλφου κυρίου Σαλαβράκου. Άλλωστε είχε την καθολική υποστήριξη στην Επιτροπή Αναφορών, και βεβαίως αυτό οφείλεται στο γεγονός ότι αποτιμά θετικά το έργο του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή. Επιτρέψτε μου λοιπόν, κύριε Πρόεδρε, εκ μέρους της Ομάδας της Ενωτικής Αριστεράς να ευχαριστήσουμε και εμείς τον κύριο Διαμαντούρο για αυτήν τη δεκαετή προσφορά στο λειτούργημα του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή. Έκανε πάρα πολύ καλή δουλειά, έχει την καθολική αναγνώριση και έκανε την δουλειά του πολλές φορές μέσα σε δυσκολίες και όχι σε διευκολύνσεις από τα όργανα της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και κυρίως, κατά την άποψή μας, από την Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή.

Θα ήθελα να κάνω λοιπόν μια γενικότερη παρατήρηση για τη δράση και τη δουλειά του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή, παρατήρηση που βεβαίως ισχύει και για τη νέα Διαμεσολαβητή που ανέλαβε αυτό το λειτούργημα. Για να γίνεται πολύ αποτελεσματική η δουλειά, χρειάζεται να έχει τη δυνατή βοήθεια όλων των θεσμών και όλων των οργάνων του ευρωπαϊκού οικοδομήματος. Το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο και με τη σημερινή συζήτηση εκφράζει την υποστήριξη στη δουλειά του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή. Αυτό πρέπει να το κάνουν και τα άλλα όργανα.

Ένα δεύτερο σημείο που θέλω να επισημάνω: λόγω της κρίσης η οποία σοβεί, ιδιαίτερα στις χώρες του Νότου, είναι σίγουρο ότι πολλά προβλήματα θα εμφανιστούν υπό τη μορφή κακοδιοίκησης και θα ενταχθούν στο αντικείμενο του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή. Κατόπιν τούτου είναι πάρα πολύ κρίσιμο, εκτός των άλλων, να λειτουργούν τα όργανα της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης και κυρίως η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή με τη μεγαλύτερη δυνατή διαφάνεια, ούτως ώστε οι πολίτες να έχουν ένα αποκούμπι στη δουλειά του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή ώστε, όταν διατυπώνουν αιτήματα και όταν διαπράττεται αδικία εις βάρος τους, να μπορούν να βρίσκουν το δίκιο τους.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška, za skupinu EFD Výročná správa o práci Európskeho ombudsmana za rok 2012 sumarizuje výkony úradu ombudsmana v poslednom roku desaťročného mandátu pána Nikoforosa Diamandourosa.

Údaje obsiahnuté v správe nám potvrdzujú, že za desať rokov vykonávania svojho úradu sa pánovi Diamandourosovi podarilo vybudovať stabilný, rešpektívny a efektívny úrad, ktorý robí dobré meno tak pánovi ombudsmanovi, ako aj Európskej únii.

Z pohľadu štatistiky zdokumentovaných výkonov je pozitívne, že občania aj vďaka informačnej kampani úradu ombudsmana sa už lepšie orientujú v rozdelení kompetencií medzi úradmi národných ombudsmanov a úradu európskeho ombudsmana.

Ochrana práv občanov spolu s verejnou správou je nesmierne dôležitý aspekt spravodlivo organizovanej spoločnosti. Vidíme to aj na výročnom hodnotení dodržiavania osvedčených postupov európskymi inštitúciami. Veď najväčší nárast porušenia práv občanov bol zaznamenaný práve v činnosti Európskeho parlamentu a aj najviac vyšetrovaní ombudsmana sa týka Európskej komisie.

Uvedené skutočnosti potvrdzujú potrebu trpezlivo a systematicky pokračovať v práci úradu európskeho ombudsmana, aby sme vytvorili čo najlepšie podmienky pre čestné a spravodlivé vzťahy medzi občanmi a európskymi inštitúciami.

Záverom chcem pánovi Nikoforosovi Diamandourosovi poďakovať za jeho prácu v úrade európskeho ombudsmana a súčasne poďakovať aj pánovi poslancovi Salavrakosovi za dobrú a kvalitnú prácu pri vytvorení správy pre naše rokovanie.

 
  
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  Oldřich Vlasák, za skupinu ECR. – Pane předsedající, úřad evropského ombudsmana pod vedením pana Diamandourose vykonal za poslední deset let opravdu velký kus práce, a proto bych mu rád osobně i jménem naší frakce poděkoval. Nesmíme však zastírat, že pro zlepšení zde prostor stále existuje.

Každému je jasné, že pouze soudy mají pravomoc vydávat právně závazná rozhodnutí a poskytovat autoritativní výklad právních předpisů. Kompetence veřejného ochránce práv je činit pouze návrhy a doporučení, a to je jedno z hlavních omezení fungování tohoto institutu. Na toto omezení ombudsman může reagovat kvalitou své práce, smysluplností svých doporučení, svou profesní a morální autoritou. Pro uplatnění této autority je však třeba vytvořit ombudsmanovi prostor. Měli bychom evropského ombudsmana častěji zvát, aby nám nejenom skládal účty a prezentoval zprávy o činnosti, ale aby nám také řekl, kde Evropský parlament pochybil.

V loňském roce ombudsman projednával 24 stížností týkajících se Evropského parlamentu a troufnu si říci, že málokdo z nás ví, čeho se týkají a jaká nápravná opatření byla přijata. Druhou oblastí, na kterou je třeba se soustředit, je efektivita vynaložených prostředků. V loňském roce úřad ombudsmana projednával 704 stížností. S rozpočtem 9,5 milionů eur tak občany členských států stojí řešení jednoho případu skoro 13 tisíc eur. Pro srovnání, v České republice řešení jednoho případu přijde na 13 tisíc korun, což je při současném kurzu zhruba 25krát méně. Je mi jasné, že mnohojazyčnost naší práce něco stojí, ale očekávám, že se problémem nákladů začne Váš úřad i nový ombudsman podrobně zabývat, bude srovnávat efektivitu své činnosti s činností národních ombudsmanů a bude hledat úspory na této cestě. A to je ostatně něco, co bych rád viděl za rok, v příští zprávě evropského ombudsmana. Ale to bude již práce Vašeho nástupce a hodnocení bude na našich nástupcích.

Pane ombudsmane, přeji Vám zasloužený odpočinek a pevné zdraví.

 
  
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  Peter Jahr (PPE). - Herr Präsident! Schön, dass Sie wieder da sind! Sehr geehrter Herr Diamandouros! Wenn man die Zahlen der vergangenen Jahre miteinander vergleicht, so stellt man schnell fest, dass unser Europäischer Bürgerbeauftragter, Herr Diamandouros, auch im Jahr 2012 sehr gute Arbeit geleistet hat. 740 von den 2400 eingegangenen Beschwerden fielen in die Zuständigkeit des Bürgerbeauftragten. Die Zahl der daraufhin eingeleiteten Untersuchungen lag um fast 20 % höher als im Vorjahr und war insgesamt so hoch wie nie. Als Beispiel wurde bereits der Sonderbericht zum Wiener Flughafen genannt, den ich als Sternstunde der Zusammenarbeit zwischen Bürgerbeauftragtem, Petitionsausschuss und Kommission sehe. So muss man auch bei kritischen Fragen miteinander umgehen. Das Ergebnis: Mehr als 22 000 Bürgerinnen und Bürgern konnte direkt geholfen werden. Das ist in meinen Augen ein erstaunliches und vor allen Dingen ein erfreuliches Ergebnis.

Neben der Bearbeitung von Beschwerden veröffentlichte Herr Diamandouros auch fünf Grundsätze für den öffentlichen Dienst: Engagement für die Europäische Union, Integrität, Objektivität, Respekt für andere sowie Transparenz – Werte, denen sich jeder einzelne Mitarbeiter der Institutionen und jeder Abgeordnete verschreiben sollte! Außerdem wurde eine neue Ausgabe des Europäischen Kodex für gute Verwaltungspraxis herausgebracht.

Herr Diamandouros, zum Abschluss möchte ich Ihnen nicht nur für Ihre Arbeit im Jahr 2012 danken, sondern vor allem für Ihr außerordentliches Engagement der vergangenen zehn Jahre. Seit 2003 sind Sie im Amt und haben ein effizientes Netzwerk europäischer Bürgerbeauftragter errichtet und tausenden Bürgern geholfen. Sie haben dazu beigetragen, die Verwaltung effizienter und transparenter zu gestalten und das Amt des Bürgerbeauftragten wesentlich geprägt. Natürlich kann man sich die Frage stellen: Kann man das Amt des Europäischen Bürgerbeauftragten verbessern? Kann man die Arbeit zwischen Bürgerbeauftragtem und Petitionsausschuss verbessern? Selbstverständlich kann man das, aber wir können es nur deshalb, weil Sie uns ein hervorragendes Erbe hinterlassen haben! Ich wünsche Ihnen alles Gute, bleiben Sie uns gewogen, und ich könnte auch sagen: Schade, dass er geht!

 
  
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  Victor Boştinaru (S&D). - Este cu totul excepţional ca, sub cupola unui parlament, să auzi vorbitori din toate grupurile politice vorbind la superlativ şi considerând ca excepţională activitatea unei instituţii europene, cea a Ombudsmanului. Este, de fapt, omagiul pe care Parlamentul îl adresează domnului Nikiforos Diamandouros, după 10 ani de activitate.

Dragă prietene Nikiforos, îţi mulţumesc pentru disponibilitatea şi contribuţia în promovarea culturii bunei administraţii şi a transparenţei în cadrul Uniunii Europene. Doresc să-mi exprim recunoştinţa pentru modul integru, riguros şi cu distincţie în care aţi acţionat în aceşti 10 ani de zile. Unul dintre dosarele de succes ale anului 2012, cum s-a menţionat, a fost cel referitor la Aeroportul Internaţional de la Viena. O cooperare impecabilă, al cărei rezultat a fost votat în unanimitate, a permis Comisiei pentru petiţii şi Comisiei Europene să identifice soluţiile pentru viitor. Acest raport ne-a oferit, în egală măsură, posibilitatea să contribuim la amendarea proiectului de directivă referitor la impactul de mediu, în aşa fel încât, pe viitor, aceste lucruri să fie imposibil de repetat.

Nu pot decăt să salut Raportul Zanoni, care urmează a fi adoptat în prima sesiune din octombrie și care se inspiră inclusiv din activitarea Comisiei pentru petiţii şi din cooperarea impecabilă dintre noi şi Ombudsman. Îmi permit să adaug că 52,7% din anchetele din anul 2012 deschise de către Ombudsmanul European au vizat Comisia Europeană şi îndemn Comisia Europeană să constate că e loc de bună administrare şi la acest nivel.

Închei spunând că standardele stabilite de dumneavoastră sunt astăzi standardele de la care porneşte noul Ombudsman şi sunt convins că şi cooperarea cu doamna Ombudsman O'Reilly se va ridica la acelaşi nivel. Încă o dată, vă doresc mult succes, multă sănătate şi să ne vedem cu bine în orice împrejurare.

 
  
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  Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE). - Arvoisa puhemies, on ilo nähdä teidät jälleen terveenä ja johtamassa puhetta entisellä paikallanne. Arvoisa oikeusasiamies Diamandoros, ensiksi haluan kiittää teitä työstä, jota olette tehnyt, se on arvokasta. Se ei ole aina ollut helppoa. Esimerkiksi avoimuuden ajaminen EU:ssa ja hyvän hallinnon eteenpäin vieminen, te olette puskeneet näitä eteenpäin, mutta vastus on kova. Mutta te olette saaneet aikaan ja yhteistyö on ollut hyvä, kiitoksia siitä.

Mutta viime vuosien kriisit ovat paljastaneet, että EU:n avoimuudessa ja hyvässä hallinnossa on puutteita, ja tätä työtä täytyy tehdä edelleen. Pankkien ja jäsenvaltioiden ongelmia on salailtu, ja tämä on johtanut entistä pahempaan kriisiin.

Nyt tarvitaan korjauksia parempaan sekä hyvässä hallinnossa että avoimuudessa, niin että tällainen ei enää toistu. EU:n ja jäsenvaltioiden avoimuutta on lisättävä kaikilla tasoilla. Avoimuus lisää luottamusta, ja samalla kaikkiin ongelmiin pystytään puuttumaan ajoissa. Nyt ei niin tapahtunut eikä pystytty. EU tarvitsee myös lain hyvästä hallinnosta, ja toivoisin, että komissio sen antaisi. Olisi ollut upeaa, jos komissio vielä olisi teidän toimikautenne aikana antanut sen Lissabonin sopimuksen mukaisesti. Kiitoksia työstänne ja terveyttä tuleville vuosille!

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE). - Signor Presidente, anche da parte mia il saluto di bentornato. La relazione annuale del Mediatore europeo rappresenta – come abbiamo sentito dagli altri interventi – un bilancio anche di fine mandato perché l'amico Diamandouros ha deciso di interrompere il suo percorso prima della fine naturale dell'ufficio, concludendo un quasi decennato con un bilancio in sicuro attivo.

I dati sulla partecipazione, sull'efficienza della struttura e sulla soddisfazione dei cittadini testimoniano l'impegno di Mr Diamandouros, che con lungimiranza ha saputo investire in questi anni verso la promozione di un rapporto più qualificato tra Istituzioni europee e cittadini.

Quale presidente della commissione per le petizioni, sono lieta di sottolineare quanto sia migliorato il rapporto fra questi due organi – Mediatore e commissione stessa. Questa collaborazione proficua ha dimostrato che la rete funziona e che è un validissimo strumento a sostegno dell'unione dei popoli. Mediatore e commissione per le petizioni aiutano a costruire un rapporto tra cittadini e Istituzioni europee, dando corpo ai diritti dei cittadini e tutelando il rispetto degli stessi.

Oggi che l'Unione europea vacilla soprattutto sotto i colpi della crisi, questa funzione è fondamentale e sono grata a Diamandouros per averla promossa in maniera così qualificata.

 
  
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  Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D). - Panie Przewodniczący! Ze smutkiem przyjęłam decyzję profesora Diamandourosa o rezygnacji z funkcji Europejskiego Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich, który przez ostatnią dekadę był podporą współpracy pomiędzy instytucją Ombudsmana a Komisją Petycji, działał na rzecz przejrzystości procedur oraz znacznie przyczynił się do lepszego informowania obywateli w kwestii pełnego korzystania z przysługujących im praw.

W ciągu zaledwie ostatniego roku Ombudsman rozpatrzył prawie 2,5 tysiąca skarg dotyczących niewłaściwego administrowania, ponadto udzielił informacji w ponad 20 tysiącach przypadków. Na 465 toczących się dochodzeń, 390 udało się zakończyć, to o 23% więcej w stosunku do roku 2011.

Zmniejszyła się liczba wniosków o udostępnienie informacji, co świadczy o użyteczności interaktywnego przewodnika Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich. Liczba skarg złożonych za pomocą strony internetowej wzrosła o 67% w stosunku do wszystkich skarg otrzymanych w ubiegłym roku. Warto podkreślić, że liczba skarg złożonych przez obywateli, a niewchodzących w zakres kompetencji Rzecznika, była w ubiegłym roku najniższa od dziesięciu lat.

Ze sprawozdania wynika jednak, że w dalszym ciągu dostęp do dokumentów instytucji unijnych oraz przejrzystość niektórych procedur są niewystarczające, biorąc pod uwagę, że aż 22% zamkniętych dochodzeń było z tym związanych.

Wzrost liczby spraw spowodował także wydłużenie średniego okresu przebiegu procedury dochodzenia o jeden miesiąc w stosunku do 10 miesięcy z 2011 roku, co świadczy o konieczności dalszego usprawniania realizowanych czynności.

W podsumowaniu pragnę jeszcze raz pogratulować osiągnięć ostatnich dziesięciu lat na rzecz dobrej administracji Unii Europejskiej i mam nadzieję, że instytucja Europejskiego Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich nie ustanie w usprawnianiu procedur na rzecz pełnego korzystania przez obywateli Unii Europejskiej z przysługujących im praw.

 
  
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  Marian Harkin (ALDE). - Mr President, I am very pleased to welcome you back to the Chair this morning and I am also delighted to have the opportunity to thank our Ombudsman, Mr Diamandouros, for his service and work on behalf of European citizens. You and your office have dealt with maladministration in an open, structured, effective, balanced and transparent way.

The office of the Ombudsman, in my opinion, has been in good hands; you have introduced good practice and that inspires confidence in citizens. You have helped to bridge that gap, when we speak of the democratic deficit between citizens and the European institutions. I am very pleased that one of your key priorities has been to maintain a dialogue with stakeholders. People’s involvement with the EU is not just reduced to electing their MEPs once every five years; they want to play a more proactive role and assert and enjoy their rights.

However, if citizens face too many obstacles in this process they become discouraged, resentful and mistrusting and your office has helped to simplify and streamline that process. So once again I want to thank you, I want to wish our new Ombudsman, Ms Emily O’Reilly, well in her new position. It is a real challenge, but as you have shown, Mr Diamandouros, a genuine commitment of service to citizens is the necessary solid foundation.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly (PPE). - Mr President, as our colleague Mr Boştinaru pointed out, it is most unusual in this House for unanimity to prevail, particularly in dealing with institutions of the EU, and I think today is the exception.

It is primarily because of the good work that the Ombudsman, Mr Diamandouros, has done over the last 10 years. As Commissioner Reding pointed out, Mr Diamandouros, you not only had the professionalism, but also the patience and the wisdom to do the job. Having met you once or twice socially, I can see that you are ideally suited to the job because you have no ego, you are here to serve and you have done it in a dignified, low-key manner, which is ideal for the job you have had. Well done and enjoy your retirement. I wish my fellow Irish citizen, Emily O’Reilly, the best of luck as she takes up your job.

You have made many progressive moves and I think you can be very proud of doing that. Sixty-six percent of complaints are dealt with within one year, which is in marked contrast to what often happens in Member States, where bureaucratic institutions often join ranks to frustrate citizens. So it was great they could come here and get their complaints dealt with quickly. You have also helped 22 000 citizens, either who complained or by giving them information, and, as Marian Harkin said, that helps certainly to close the democratic deficit.

I also think this is a very important point: the Ombudsman has asked complainants to make observations when dissatisfied with an institution’s reply, whereas previously they had to make a new complaint if they were not satisfied. I think that is very important as well.

And also, your booklet: ‘Problems with the EU? Who can help you?’ That is also a great help to citizens. Well done, good and faithful servant, and enjoy your retirement.

 
  
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  Der Präsident. − Herzlichen Dank, Herr Kelly, und insbesondere von meiner Seite für die Punktlandung bei Ihrer Redezeit – als Einziger heute morgen.

 
  
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  Michael Cashman (S&D). - Mr President, I have written a speech for Mr Diamandouros, but what can I say?

Mr Diamandouros, listening to the compliments here today, you must think you are listening to your own obituary, but indeed you are not. It is a reality. You have done tremendous work but there has been heavy opposition.

You have sided with Parliament on our approach to access to documents; it is sad that a great number of the complaints are still about access to documents, openness and transparency. But in your work and with your staff, you have ensured that all of the institutions are much more accountable to our citizens than they were before. The work that you have done on the Convention for people with disabilities is incredible. The tireless way that you have held us accountable will not be forgotten.

Can I also say that the fact that Emily O’Reilly is to be our next Ombudswoman – can we please start saying ‘Ombudswoman’ – is a brilliant reminder that the position must not only be politically neutral, but must be perceived to be.

So yes, you will leave us. Yes, you have done 10 years of brilliant work. I am pleased to say that in the Committee on Petitions, we are keeping along your line, holding to those petitions, like the ones in southern Spain on illegal builds and on urbanisation, that still have not been resolved.

But, Mr Diamandouros, I know your activism and your passion will remain. And I think one of the best things we can say is that, having taken over from Jacob Söderman, your legacy will ensure that the work of the Ombudsman under Ms O’Reilly will continue.

 
  
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  Метин Казак (ALDE). - Г-н Председател, уважаема г-жо Комисар, уважаеми г-н Диамандурос, аз също се присъединявам към благодарностите към Вас за постиженията Ви като пазител на прозрачността и за налагане на принципите на добро управление в Европейския съюз, както и за установяването и развиването на институцията Омбудсман в страните-кандидатки за членство в Европейския съюз, включително и в моята България.

Разбира се, фактът, че 67 % от жалбите са подадени по интернет през 2012 г., показва успеха на интерактивното ръководство на омбудсмана, което е достъпно на неговия уебсайт. Също така обаче, все още големият брой жалби, свързани с откритостта и прозрачността, не може да не буди притеснение относно публичната представа на европейците спрямо Европейския съюз.

Затова аз призовавам и Вашия наследник, г-жа О'Райли, да продължи принципите, които Вие заложихте: на прозрачност, на откритост и налагане на добри етични стандарти. Благодаря Ви и Ви желая успех.

 
  
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  Heinz K. Becker (PPE). - Herr Präsident, geschätzter Bürgerbeauftragter, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Für die Bilanz des Berichtsjahrs, aber auch für die gesamte Tätigkeit möchte auch ich meinen herzlichen Dank an Herrn Diamandouros zum Ausdruck bringen, den ich als sachlichen und professionellen Bürgerbeauftragten und Partner des Petitionsausschusses kennengelernt habe, insbesondere beim Sonderbericht zum Ausbau des Flughafens Wien und auch den Konsequenzen, die daraus gezogen wurden: eine Optimierung der Verfahren und ein bürgergerechtes Verhalten der Verwaltung, worauf auch die Kommission hingewiesen wurde, sowie eine effizientere Beteiligung der Öffentlichkeit im Vorfeld der UVP-Verfahren, wie sie ja auch dann im Oktober in der Novellierung der UVP-Richtlinie fixiert werden wird. Ich möchte aber auch den Dank an sein Team richten! Auch dort habe ich professionelle Arbeit kennengelernt.

Ich erkenne bei der neuen Bürgerbeauftragten durchaus Kompetenzen und Erfahrungen und ein persönliches Engagement. Ich begrüße, dass dazu auch einige wesentliche Aspekte gehören, die ich voll teile: zum Beispiel die Zielsetzung der wirksamen Kommunikationsarbeit – das Stichwort star cases ist hier gefallen –, eine intensive Nutzung der Online-Instrumente, die es ermöglichen sollen, dass die Bürger ihren Fall online weiterverfolgen können. Ich würde mich freuen, wenn auch in Zukunft die Zusammenarbeit des Petitionsausschusses mit der neuen Bürgerbeauftragten die Qualität der mit Herrn Diamandouros erreichen wird – eine effektive, wirkungsvolle Zusammenarbeit zum Nutzen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger Europas. Ganz persönlich wünsche ich Ihnen viel Gesundheit und eine schöne persönliche Lebenszeit!

 
  
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  Ismail Ertug (S&D). - Herr Präsident! Ich freue mich sehr, Sie hier sehen zu können! Ich wünschen Ihnen, Herr Diamandouros, alles, alles Gute auf Ihrem weiteren Lebenswege und danke Ihnen für die hervorragenden zehn Jahre, die Sie innerhalb der Europäischen Union gewirkt haben.

Die letzte Umfrage hat gezeigt, dass 52 % der befragten EU-Bürger die Aufgabe des Bürgerbeauftragten darin sehen, dass sie ihre Rechte vermittelt bekommen und dass sie darüber informiert werden. Das ist der richtige Weg, es ist aber dennoch zuwenig – es müssen meines Erachtens mehr Bürger davon Kenntnis erlangen, und sie müssen auch mehr informiert werden.

Auch, weil wir mittlerweile mehr als eine halbe Milliarde Einwohner innerhalb der Europäischen Union haben. Wenn ich die Zahlen richtig recherchiert habe, sind im Jahr 2012 gerade einmal 2 442 Beschwerden eingegangen – das ist definitiv zu wenig. Nicht weil wir mehr Beschwerden haben wollen, sondern weil das zeigt, dass die Bürger letztendlich nicht in ausreichender Art und Weise darüber informiert worden sind.

Ich denke aber auch, dass 42 % der Bürgerinnen und Bürger die EU-Verwaltung für nicht transparent halten, und deswegen gibt es viel zu tun, aber Ihnen noch einmal vielen Dank für Ihre Arbeit, Herr Diamandouros!

 
  
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  Carlos José Iturgaiz Angulo (PPE). - Señor Presidente, el informe de este año sobre las actividades del Defensor del Pueblo Europeo en 2012 es especial porque se elabora después de conocer que el señor Diamandouros dejará el cargo en octubre de 2013. Yo no puedo más que agradecer los logros del Defensor del Pueblo Europeo en sus diez años de mandato, en particular su trabajo para promover una cultura de servicio y buena administración de los órganos de la Unión Europea, así como su siempre excelente colaboración con la Comisión de Peticiones del Parlamento Europeo. También aprovecho para felicitar al ponente, mi amigo el señor Salavrakos, por su excelente trabajo en este informe que hoy nos presenta.

Y me gustaría destacar, señor Presidente, como aspectos positivos relacionados con la actividad del Defensor del Pueblo Europeo durante este año 2012 los siguientes: primero, el hecho de que el 56 % de los formularios hayan sido presentados de manera electrónica en la página interactiva del Defensor del Pueblo Europeo, lo que manifiesta la actualización de dicho órgano conforme al mundo de Internet; segundo, la creación de la guía interactiva, que ha resultado ser una herramienta muy útil a la hora de filtrar reclamaciones por parte de los ciudadanos; gracias a Internet y a dicha guía se está difundiendo de manera progresiva el conocimiento de los derechos de los ciudadanos y de cómo hacerlos valer; tercero, la publicación de una nueva edición del Código europeo de buena conducta administrativa, que tiene en cuenta los principios del Derecho administrativo europeo contenidos en la jurisprudencia de los tribunales europeos; y cuarto, que, si hay algo especialmente importante que destacar, es una cuestión de derechos fundamentales a la que el Defensor del Pueblo Europeo dedicó especial atención en 2012: la integración de personas con discapacidad a raíz de la entrada en vigor en la Unión Europea de la Convención de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos de las personas con discapacidad.

Dicho esto, las pequeñas lagunas en las que se debería seguir trabajando —como así refirió en su informe el Defensor del Pueblo Europeo— se pueden resumir en las siguientes: la mejora de la comunicación con el ciudadano europeo y la ampliación de la colaboración con la Red Europea de Defensores del Pueblo, la aceleración de los procedimientos de investigación de reclamaciones y la mejora de la transparencia en la administración de la Unión Europea.

Finalizo recordando el apoyo que dará el Grupo del Partido Popular Europeo a este informe del señor Salavrakos y dándole muchísimas gracias al señor Diamandouros por su labor.

 
  
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  Alexander Mirsky (S&D). - Es uzmanīgi iepazinos ar ziņojumu par jūsu darbu, Diamandouros kungs, un vēlos jums pateikt: liels paldies! Bet es varu tiešām pateikt, ka vienu lielu darbu jūs neesat izpildījis līdz galam. 2004. gada 11. martā Eiropas Parlaments pieņēma Rezolūciju Nr. 50111 par to, ka Latvijā 350 000 cilvēku ir atņemtas pilsoņu tiesības, tas ir, 15 % valsts iedzīvotāju Latvijā. Jūs saņemat ļoti daudz sūdzību un signālu par šo nelikumību. Šī dziļā problēma nav atrisināta šodien. Vai jums neliekas, ka tas nav taisnīgi, Diamandouros kungs? Vai tā ir Pandoras kaste, kuru neviens negrib atvērt šodien? Paldies jums par uzmanību!

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Παπανικολάου (PPE). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, χαίρομαι που σας βλέπω και πάλι στο Προεδρείο, χαίρομαι ιδιαιτέρως και εύχομαι να είστε πάντα γερός και δυνατός. Κυρίες και κύριοι, την περίοδο αυτή, ιδιαίτερα στις χώρες που αντιμετωπίζουν τις μεγαλύτερες δυσκολίες λόγω της οικονομικής κρίσης, βλέπουμε να διέρχεται κρίση και η εμπιστοσύνη των πολιτών έναντι της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης· βλέπουμε τον σκεπτικισμό με τον οποίο πολλοί συμπολίτες μας αντιμετωπίζουν την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. Για αυτό άλλωστε η χρονιά αυτή, που την έχουμε αφιερώσει στους πολίτες μας, έχει ανακηρυχθεί «Ευρωπαϊκό Έτος των Πολιτών» και, για να πραγματοποιηθεί αυτό, έχει πρωταγωνιστήσει και η Αντιπρόεδρος της Επιτροπής, η κυρία Reding.

Όλοι συζητούμε για τον τρόπο με τον οποίο μπορεί να ενισχυθεί η θέση και η σχέση των πολιτών προς την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση. Ο θεσμός του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή όλα αυτά τα χρόνια έχει διαδραματίσει καθοριστικό ρόλο προς την κατεύθυνση αυτή. Στην εξαιρετική έκθεση του ο εισηγητής μας, ο κύριος Σαλαβράκος, σωστά αναφέρεται όχι μόνο στα πεπραγμένα του 2012, αλλά και κατά κάποιο τρόπο προβαίνει σε αποτίμηση της δεκαετίας, γιατί πράγματι τα χρόνια αυτά, ο θεσμός του Ευρωπαίου Διαμεσολαβητή ενισχύθηκε. Εκείνος που προσωποποίησε αυτόν τον θεσμό ήταν ο κύριος Νικηφόρος Διαμαντούρος, ο οποίος κατά κοινή ομολογία έκανε εξαιρετική δουλειά, και είναι καθήκον όλων μας να συνεχίσουμε να στηρίζουμε αυτόν τον θεσμό τα επόμενα χρόνια και να στηρίξουμε και τη διάδοχό του την κυρία O' Reilly προς την κατεύθυνση αυτή.

Είμαι πεπεισμένος ότι το επόμενο διάστημα οι πολίτες θα βρεθούν πιο κοντά στην Ευρώπη. Είμαι πεπεισμένος ότι αυτά που κερδίσαμε μέχρι σήμερα με τον Ευρωπαίο Διαμεσολαβητή θα τα ενισχύσουμε ακόμη περισσότερο: την ταχύτητα στην ανταπόκριση στα αιτήματα, την αμεσότητα με το Διαδίκτυο και την ηλεκτρονική διακυβέρνηση, τη σοβαρότητα με την οποία αντιμετωπίστηκαν κάθε λογής περιπτώσεις όλα αυτά τα χρόνια.

Καλή δύναμη, κύριε Διαμαντούρε! Πραγματικά τιμήσατε τον θεσμό όλα αυτά τα δέκα χρόνια. Επιτρέψτε μου όμως να πω και κάτι τελευταίο: αυτά τα χρόνια τιμήσατε και την πατρίδα σας, την Ελλάδα!

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye-Verfahren

 
  
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  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Szanowni Państwo! Jeżeli pozwolicie, przyłączę się do tego jednego głosu, który dzisiaj dominuje na tej sali. Chciałem podziękować panu Diamandourosowi za jego działalność. Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich to bardzo wrażliwa instytucja. Podsumowując Pańską działalność, należy zauważyć, że Pańska praca była nad wyraz konstruktywna. Działalność Rzecznika Praw Obywatelskich to łącznik między obywatelami, to pochylenie się nad ich problemami, ale to również praca nad tym, aby instytucje unijne były bardziej transparentne. To, jak również pomoc obywatelom w odnajdywaniu się w naszej biurokracji, jest niezmiernie istotne. Dlatego, Panie Diamandouros, jeszcze raz chciałem Panu podziękować i życzyć wszystkiego najlepszego.

 
  
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  Monika Smolková (S&D). - Na úvod chcem tiež oceniť prácu pána ombudsmana za celé jeho funkčné obdobie pri zvyšovaní spravodlivosti a transparentnosti v Európskej únii.

Práca ombudsmana je veľmi zodpovedná a vôbec nie ľahká. Tiež treba povedať, že sú to európske inštitúcie, ktoré prácu ombudsmanovi vôbec neuľahčujú. V správe sa konštatuje, že podobne ako v predchádzajúcich rokoch sa väčšina vyšetrení, ktoré ombudsman začal, týkala Komisie – je to až 52,7 % – a počet vyšetrovaní týkajúcich sa Európskeho parlamentu sa takmer zdvojnásobil.

Transparentnosť, otvorenosť, prístup k informáciám, dodržiavanie práv občanov a vysoké etické normy majú zásadný význam pre dôveru občanov a inštitúcií, zvlášť európskych inštitúcií pred blížiacimi sa voľbami do Európskeho parlamentu, keď sa budeme opätovne uchádzať o dôveru ľudí.

Preto verím, že európske inštitúcie aj vďaka novému vydaniu európskeho kódexu dobrého administratívneho správania prispejú k väčšej otvorenosti a transparentnosti vo svojich činnostiach.

 
  
 

(Ende des Catch-the-eye-Verfahrens)

 
  
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  Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, it is now 24 years that I have been sitting in this House. Ten years as an MEP and 14 years as a Commissioner, and let me tell you that I have never seen this before: that on all the benches there is an absolute agreement to applaud the work done by the Ombudsman and his team. That is extraordinary, just as your work was extraordinary.

(Applause)

I have nothing else to add to this except answering one of the questions which has been addressed to me. Of course, for the Commission there is always room for better administration. So we are grateful for the remarks done by the Ombudsman. We are listening to him and putting his remarks into practice as much as we can. We are going to do exactly the same – taking due account of the proposals and having a very cooperative approach – we are also going to implement the same approach with the next Ombudsman.

Concerning now the rules for good administration, the Commission has set in motion the analysis of the existing EU law in this domain, to see if all the areas relating to good administration are covered or not. And, based on this stocktaking, the Commission will decide if there is a real need for a regulation based on Article 298. If there is we will do it. But only if there is a necessity and if from the study it appears that not everything has been covered.

So the Commission has a positive approach to doing this and work is ongoing.

In order to be in full transparency, I would like nevertheless to explain to this House that such a regulation cannot be used to set rules that are based on other articles in the Treaty, articles other than 298; for instance, access to documents, staff regulations or financial regulation. So, here, we are only speaking about good administration and this we are looking at. All the other problems have to be solved at a different point and I see from the body language of the Ombudsman that he does agree with this approach.

But for the rest, I think that a strong office of the Ombudsman is good for all institutions. Thank you once more for having been a strong Ombudsman.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Der Präsident. − Abweichend von meiner Rolle erlaube ich es mir einfach, mich dem Lob anzuschließen, das fraktionsübergreifend an Herrn Diamandouros als Bürgerbeauftragtem geäußert worden ist. Es zeigt, wie Sie diese wichtige und unverzichtbare Rolle ausgefüllt haben. Und es bleibt mir auch die Freude, mich in aller Kürze für die Wünsche, dir mir persönlich entgegengebracht worden sind, zu bedanken.

 
  
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  Nikiforos Diamandouros, Ombudsman. − Mr President, I would like to say again that I very much share all the expressions of pleasure that have been expressed by your colleagues on seeing you back here. It is part of today’s business to acknowledge your return. Allow me to make a few remarks first on the substance of the report, and then to conclude in response to what you have said about the Ombudsman, the institution and my departure.

In terms of the substance, I will just say a few things. First of all, I am particularly grateful to Ms Reding for informing the House that the Commission will look carefully at the possibility of moving in the direction of adopting what would eventually be a law on administrative reform in the European Union, based on Article 298. I think this is very good news. I will leave it to my successor to be able to work with you in helping and advising you on how this can be done.

For me the important thing, Ms Reding, is to be able to provide citizens with greater clarity and to avoid the kind of overlap and confusion that comes from multiple structures, multiple codes and multiple instruments governing and trying to regulate good administrative behaviour. The Commission can make an enormous contribution by simplifying that because ultimately, as you know from your own experience, simplicity does not mean banality. It means clarity. If you provide clarity to citizens you will be able to help them and I very much hope that you will be able to move in that direction.

I also very much welcome the fact that you are looking into the area of strengthening the regulation concerning the environment, taking account of the improvements made with the special report on Vienna airport. So overall I wish to record my thanks to you and hope that the Commission will work with my successor in moving forward important pieces of legislation that will clearly strengthen the Union’s capacity to be able to signal to citizens that they are in fact doing what needs to be done to help them better.

To Mr Mirsky, I must confess that after nine years I do not instantly have in my head what was said back in 2004. I will say to you that I have no recollection of my office having received a complaint concerning this matter at the national level in Latvia. My sense is that it may have been a complaint that was in fact submitted to the Latvian authorities and therefore did not reach me, but of course my office is entirely at your disposal if you would like to bring it up so we can actually examine it, and then my staff and Ms O’Reilly will certainly be able to give you a more responsible answer than I can give you now, 10 years after the event.

Finally, before I go into my more general comments, I would like to thank Ms Mazzoni specifically for the support that she and her committee have given me throughout all these years. I am profoundly grateful, both personally and institutionally.

It is difficult to be able to be anything other than overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of praise and support that has been heaped upon the institution of the Ombudsman. I can only say that I am profoundly grateful, and again overwhelmed, and again humbled, by that.

However, I choose to interpret and internalise all that praise as a further indication to the Ombudsman by this august body of the increased obligations that the Ombudsman must have – and the institution of the Ombudsman must carry out – as it moves ahead in trying to help citizens and to help institutions promote a better culture. This is exactly the message that I solemnly undertake before you to pass on to Ms O’Reilly so that she will know the kind of trust that this institution has in the institution of the Ombudsman and the kinds of heavy expectations that will be weighing upon her.

One of you mentioned at some point that the Ombudsman is a special institution. I would like to underscore that by a very brief reference to something that the European Ombudsman has been able to continue to do in terms of widely promoting the institution. Last week I was in Turkey and had occasion to meet with the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and senior ministers on the occasion of the launching of the Turkish Ombudsman institution, which had been in the making for 15 years and in which I have been personally involved for the past 15 years. I had occasion to tell Mr Erdogan, Mr Gul and the ministers that the Ombudsman is indeed a very special institution – what is special about it is that it is endowed with the obligation to speak truth to power – and therefore to tell the Prime Minister and the President that the special nature of the institution of the Ombudsman is that it will often tell them things they may not like, but that is necessarily part of the dialogue implicit in democracy, which in fact also involves criticism and dialogue. That is exactly what I am grateful to you about.

My final remark is made on shaky ground, but not too shaky. I have repeatedly consulted with linguists and authorities, particularly in the Scandinavian countries, and have been told repeatedly that in Sweden and Iceland the term ‘Ombudsman’ is gender neutral. Therefore the incumbent Swedish chief parliamentary ombudsman refers to herself as the Ombudsman. I will not instruct this Parliament and this body as to what they should do, nor will I instruct Ms O’Reilly on how she wishes to be referred to. I simply put before you the result of somewhat detailed research into the matter and then leave it you or to Ms O’Reilly to decide what will be the appropriate form of address for my successor. Hopefully you will avoid what has happened on the other side of the Atlantic, where the term has now been made into a verb so that the Ombudsman ‘ombudses’. I do not think that would be particularly elegant.

Again, with deep gratitude to all of you for what you have done for me in the past 10 years and for all the praise you have heaped upon me, I would like to thank you very much. Please rally around Ms O’Reilly and around Ms Mazzoni and her Committee on Petitions in order to help citizens.

(Applause)

 
  
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  Νικόλαος Σαλαβράκος, Εισηγητής. − Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η εξέλιξη της συζητήσεως μου επιτρέπει να κάνω την σύνοψή της με μια ομηρική λέξη: «έννεπε». Το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο «έννεπε» στον απερχόμενο Διαμεσολαβητή την πλήρη συμπαράστασή του και την πλήρη αναγνώριση του έργου του. Πρέπει να γίνει αντιληπτό ότι ο θεσμός του Διαμεσολαβητή είναι δικαιικός, δεν είναι δικαστικός. Και επειδή είναι δικαιικός θεσμός είναι ακόμη πιο δύσκολος, διότι οι αποφάσεις του Διαμεσολαβητή δεν έχουν αναγκαστικό χαρακτήρα. Οι δικαστικές αποφάσεις εξαναγκάζουν, εκτελούνται. Οι αποφάσεις του Διαμεσολαβητή αποδίδουν μια δικαιοσύνη η οποία γίνεται σεβαστή λόγω του κύρους του προσώπου και της ορθότητας των αποφάσεων. Και σε αυτά είχαμε επιτυχία την τελευταία δεκαετία.

Οι Ευρωπαίοι πολίτες, οι οποίοι είναι οι χρήστες αυτού του θεσμού, εκζητούν μια διαβίωση σε καλό κοινωνικό και οικονομικό επίπεδο. Και πιστεύω ότι δεν υπάρχει σωστή διαβίωση εάν δεν υπάρχει δικαιοσύνη. Επομένως, πρέπει με δικαιοσύνη να αντιμετωπίσουμε τους Ευρωπαίους πολίτες. Φοβάμαι ότι, όταν γεννώνται προσχήματα ή δημιουργούνται προσχήματα για κυβερνητικές αυθαιρεσίες, κάτι δεν πάει καλά. Και η οικονομική κρίση έχει δημιουργήσει πολλά προσχήματα για κυβερνητικές αυθαιρεσίες σε όλα τα επίπεδα κυβερνήσεων, πιστεύω, όχι μόνον στην Ευρώπη αλλά και σε όλον τον κόσμο. Αυτό πρέπει να το προσέξουμε. Η εκζήτησις της δικαιοσύνης από τους πολίτες της Ευρώπης είναι πιο έντονη διότι σήμερα δυστυχώς στοιχειώδη ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα παραβιάζονται. Και στο σημείο αυτό ο ρόλος της κυρίας Επιτρόπου είναι σημαντικός.

Κλείνοντας - δεν θέλω να μακρηγορήσω – θα ήθελα να ευχαριστήσω και για την συμπαράσταση όλων των πολιτικών ομάδων προς την έκθεσή μου.

 
  
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  Der Präsident. − Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Die Abstimmung findet um 12 Uhr statt.

 
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